Members of Parliament (MPs) are demanding Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Development Goodall Gondwe to disclose the source of K4 billion initially earmarked for development in 86 constituencies belonging to government legislators and others associating with the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) as it is not appearing in the budget.
Leader of the House, Kondwani Nankhumwa, who is also Minister of Local Government and Rural Development on Tuesday announced in Parliament that government will share the K4 billion to all 193 constituencies.
Nankhumwa said both sides of the House have declared to distribute the money equally across the board.
“This means each and every constituency will get K20.7 million,” Nankhumwa said.
He said there was some “total misunderstanding” arising from “misrepresentation of facts” on the rural development resources.
“In the first place, the picture which was put outside there was as if the money had already been shared and spent, while in the actual sense, the money is just here in the budget presented to the members of parliament for them to approve or disapprove,” said Nankhumwa.
He added that the issue would be taken back to the drawing board and also that the funds would be shared to constituencies not in phases, but all at once, for all members to benefit.
The announcement followed pressure from the opposition members who questioned the criteria for selecting beneficiaries.
But Nankhumwa said money will be sent released according to the project of presentation of the member of parliament in consultation with his area development committee.
“This is within the set up of the government and public finance regulations,” he said.
But People’s Party (PP) leader in the House pressed Finance Minister to first explain the source of the money before distributing.
And Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee (PAC) chairperson Alekeni Menyani, who is also Dedza North West MP (Malawi Congress Party – MCP) said the country’s purse-keeper is abusing the tax-payers funds.
Government reportedly wanted the fund to be shared “ secretly” but Malawi News on Saturday exposed that K3.4 billion was allocated to 86 MPs who voted against the Electoral Reforms Bills in December, translating to K40 million per beneficiary constituency.
Gondwe told the House that in the course of our reviewing the budget, the fiscal chief “came across resources of that magnitude and we thought they should really go towards rural development and I asked my colleague, the Minister of Local Government, to find out how this could be used.”
The Finance Minister said Minister Nankhumwa went around asking Members of Parliament.
“Some of you probably weren’t asked but he did ask and 86 of them or so were offered small projects in their constituencies.
“If we find to be not sufficient, we can call that first phase and we will come to you again, but the point that it is true; I don’t want to deny that I have told you the reason why it came about. The reason is that we wanted the extra resources that we had to be used in rural areas,” he said.
Earlier, legislators had demanded resignation of Gondwe for “failure to execute his duties” by spending the K4 billion without Parliament’s authority.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :