Opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) on Monday responded to the Mid-Term Budget Review Statement presented by Minister of Finance Felix Mlusu which has increased the fiscal plan by K144 billion, saying Malawians voters who ushered President Lazarus Chakwera into power feel betrayed and are hopeless.
DPP spokesperson of Finance in Parliament Joseph Mwanamvekha said the budget which has ballooned from K2.190 trillion to K2.334 trillion with total revenues and grants revised upwards from K1.435 trillion to K1.523 trillion, representing 16.5 percent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) has not spelt out how the government will fulfil its promises.
“Malawians are still hopeless as the new captain they entrusted with the responsibility to steer the ship has met a storm and hit a rock in the process and subsequently lost the direction,” said Mwanamvekha.
He said: “Instead of going to Canaan, [President Chakwera] is now heading towards Baghdad, the Capital City of Iraq!”
The former government purse keeper argued that “Malawians feel cheated” and are now missing former president Peter Mutharika’s leadership and that they have now realized that indeed Chitsime chimadziwika kuya chikaphwa! [you can only know the depth of a well when it is dry].”
Mwanamvekha told parliament: “Madam Speaker, what is more disturbing is that the captain seems to have lost all his senses and he is helpless! This captain must be fired, and we get the previous captain to steer it.”
He further said the national budget is “off track” because it has missed both the revenue and expenditure targets.
“Instead of collecting domestic revenue of K600 Billion during the period under review it only collected K564 Billion representing a shortfall of K 36 Billion.
“While on the expenditure side instead of spending K 975 Billion it spent K 998.5 Billion representing an increase of almost K 24 Billion, resulting in net borrowing of approximately K30 Billion as at end of December 2020,” he said.
Furthermore, Mwanamvekha said, instead of borrowing MK266.3 billion at end of first half, the Chakwera administration has borrowed MK350.9 billion of which MK304billion was borrowed locally, thereby overcrowding the private sector.
He also pointed out: “This MCP government is failing to generate enough forex reserves. Malawians should brace for tougher times ahead as they will scramble for the little foreign exchange reserves. If they are lucky to get these reserves, they will get them at a much higher price than it was under the DPP government.”
Mwanamvekha further said most Malawians voted for Chakwera and his Malawi Congress Party (MCP) because of the promises they made but that Malawians have also lost out in the 2020/2021 budget because “most of the promises that were made by the MCP government are missing out.”
He said : “Madam Speaker, allow me to refresh minds of all Malawians through this August House on some of the flagship promises that have not been fulfilled by the MCP Government as follows;
The K15,000 monthly Allowance for the senior citizens aged 65 and above;
- Non-renewable driver’s license at K14,000
- The tax-free week holiday;
- The mega farms every constituency
- The one million jobs in the first year of the MCP Government;
- Obtaining a Passport at a reduced price of K14,000;
- The 400 modern roads within 8 months of MCP administration;
- The construction of Health Centres on every 7 kilometres;
- The much talked about three meals a day;
- The bullet train from Blantyre to Lilongwe
“Madam Speaker, it is refreshing to note that the Minister of Finance is telling us that the free electricity and water connections will be implemented in the next budget. I hope that government will not remove the connection fees on one hand and raise the water and electricity tariffs on the other. If that happens, then you will be cheating Malawians and we on this side of isle would not accept that,” said Mwanamvekha.
He continued: “Madam Speaker, perhaps the question we would like to ask the Government; is how long should Malawians wait for the fulfilment of the rest of promises?
“In his own words the Minister says the implementation of the above promises awaits policy formulation. The MCP government has not been ready to govern. The MCP government is not ready to govern. The MCP government will never ever be ready to govern. It is all promises and lies. The President lied to the nation that he will not accept to be installed the chancellor of public universities, but the reality is different.”
Mwanamvekha concluded by saying that DPP are fully aware that Malawians are regretting on the choice they made on 23rd June 2020 , saying “but they should not despair as DPP is coming back in 2025!”
But while delivering his televised Eighth National Address on the War on Covid-19 from Kamuzu Palace in Lilongwe on Sunday evening, Chakwera said his administration is determined to build a new Malawi “one step at a time, one day at a time” despite the impact of Covid-19 frustrating achievement of election campaign promises.
He said: “In summary, we will never give in to despair and we will never give in to negativity. We are determined to ensure that there is macroeconomic stability within the economic framework within which we will be operating.
Chakwera also said his administration keep up the good fight against the pandemic .
Meanwhile, Mwanamvekha said the opposition DPP is therefore asking government to come up with a post Covid-19 recovery plan as is the case elsewhere.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :