Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Development Goodall Gondwe was on Tuesday kept on his feet in parliament as the opposition bombarded him with questions as to why the government is failing to get K300 million for holding by-elections.
Lilongwe north east MP Peter Chakhwantha asked the minister the question under emergency questions category.
However, Gondwe told the House that Treasury could not release the money because the Malawi Electoral Commission has used all the K1 billion budgeted for by-elections for other purposes.
“Treasury is barred by the Constitution from using resources for extra budgetary. We ought to be careful on how we use money. The K1 billion we provided MEC was used for other purposes by the Malawi Electoral Commission,” said Gondwe.
He therefore said the government can provide the K300 million for the by-elections as soon as the budget is passed which would be the first week of July.
Gondwe all the same apologised to the House on behalf of government for the failure to hold the by-elections.
Dowa east MP told Gondwe that he did not have powers to change the Constitution which provides that a by-election be undertaken 60 days after a constituency falls vacant.
Gondwe however says he follows the Republican Constitution faithfully reads it more often probably more than members from the government side.
Leader of Opposition Lazarus Chakwera said he did not understand how the tax collector, the Malawi Revenue Authority could not collect a mere K300 million.
Chakwera therefore suggested that Gondwe should always consult the Speaker of the National Assembly Richard Msowoya before making unilateral decision to cancel a by-election.
The Malawi Electoral Commission is supposed to hold the by-elections in Lilongwe Msozi north and Lilongwe City south east constituencies and Mayani north in Dedza and Msiriza ward in Lilongwe local government by-elections.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :