Opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) president Peter Mutharika has charged that the 2013 national budget by the Joyce Banda administration’s will not respond to the needs of Malawians.
Mutharika made the criticism on Sunday at Chankhanga school ground, in Malawi’s central region tobacco growing district of Kasungu where he held a mass rally.
He was on a whistle stop tour which started at Chileka trading centre in Lilongwe and Kamwendo trading centre in Mchinji before the final venue in Kasungu where thousands of supporters including others who said they were defecting from ruling People’s Party to rejoin DPP.
Mutharika, who was accompanied by the vice president of the party Hetherwick Ntaba, secretary general Jean Kalilani, publicity secretary Nicolas Dausi, treasure general Henry Musa and DPP members of parliament, raised concern on the increased borrowing as opposed to increased revenue collection and over dependence on donors.
In the budget, total revenues and grants are expected to amount to K603.4 billion (about $1.2bn) from K460.9 billion in 2012/13 with domestic revenues projected at K363.1 billion (about $907m)—, representing 60 percent of total revenue and grants, while K240.3 billion are donor grants, representing 40 percent of total revenue and grants.
Of the total domestic revenues, tax revenues are projected at K328.1 billion while the non-tax revenues are estimated at K35 billion with grants, on the other hand, expected to jump by 36 percent from K177. 4 billion estimated for 2012/13 financial year to K240.3 billion.
Mutharika told the mammoth crowd that the K638.2 billion [about $1.5bn] financial plan which was presented to parliament Friday by Finance Minister Ken Lipenga “lacks a sense of direction to serve local people.”
He also rapped President Joyce Banda, saying she has poor economic policies which are hurting the impoverished in the rural areas.
“There is lack of basic economics understanding which has seen people are unable to buy basic things such as salt, sugar, soap and even board a minibus from one place to the other,” said Mutharika.
He asked people to rally behind his DPP, promising to make things better if they get back into government next year.