PP warns Malawi govt against ‘hurting the poor’ with taxes

Opposition People’s Party (PP) has warned the Peter Mutharika government that its members of parliament will not accept measures aimed at hurting the impoverished to finance the national budget, saying the “privileged sector” should be targeted for punitive taxes.

Speaker of the National Assembly Richard Msowoya announced that the first budget session of Parliament for the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) led-government will run for five weeks from September 1 until October 3.

Mussa:  Warns DPP ahead of parliament sitting
Mussa: Warns DPP ahead of parliament sitting

Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Development Goodall Gondwe is expected to present the country’s financial plan for 2014/15 which is budgeted at K743 billion, after jumping by 16 percent from last year’s K640 billion.

This follows expiry of a provisional three-month budget which he presented early June.

Malawi is weathering an economic storm after donors, who contribute 40 percent to the state budget; last year withdrew aid worth $150 million over a massive government corruption scandal originating from 2005.

Government has said it would broaden the revenue base by, among other things, hiking user fees, fines and levies collected by its ministries and departments.

Leader of PP in Parliament Uladi Mussa said government needed to explain in detail how the budget would be financed against and warned against “hurting the impoverished.”

Other than broadening the tax-base, Mussa said government also ought to inform Malawians how funding for the budget will be sourced.

Mussa also said the cost of living has gone up and that government should ensure the civil servants have a salary hike in the budget.

Spokesman for President Peter Mutharika, who came to power after beating Joyce Banda in May elections, said the Malawi leader will prioritise “the improvement of living standards of civil servants.”

Presidential spokesman Frederick Ndala said Mutharika notes that cost of living high for them, for every Malawian.

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