Malawi Parliament is expected to meet from Monday for the Mid-Year Budget Review amid reports that most government ministries and departments have overshot their budgets in the last six months.
Parliament spokesperson Leonard Mengezi has confirmed that President Peter Mutharika has authorised the meeting of the National Assembly, the last for this cohort of legislators who were elected in 2914.
“But as for the day when the meeting starts, it is the Speaker who will make the announcement,” said Mengezi.
Speaker Richard Msowoya said meeting starts on Monday, February 18.
The meeting comes at a time when economists have raised alarm that most government ministries and departments have overshot their budget line.
Ministry of Finance, Economic Planning and Development spokesperson Davis Sado said the mid-term budget review gives authorities an opportunity to factor in emerging issues in the budget.
The Mid-Year Budget Review Meeting of Parliament has become a tradition since 2005 to assess the performance of the national budget and provide checks and balances on expenditures.
Economic analyst Dalitso Kubalasa said the review meetings provide a platform to assess budget performance and help Treasury to devise necessary adjustments.
He said in quotes reported by the press: “This is an important time, especially in an election year to check if all is well with this law that was passed in June 2018 alongside all contractual obligations to its people.
“I pray that the government will still make sure that this ideal and best fiscal financial management practice be adhered to in the true spirit of open budgets, transparency and most importantly, accountability to the broader public.”
The current parliament ends on March 20, just a month before the highly contentious May 21 tripartite elections.
Meanwhile, Malawi Congress Party (MCP) has said it would choose Lazarus Chakwera’s replacement as Leader of Opposition in Parliament after he relinquished the position and that of Lilongwe North-West Member of Parliament, in line with the law which stipulates that one cannot vie for the State presidency while holding public office.