Malawi Parliament prematurely adjourned Thursday as opposition wanted government to raise budget line for parliament a move Leader of the House Francis Kasaila described as unpatriotic.
The parliamentarians had successfully passed all but four votes, budget lines for each ministry including the contentious State Residences vote.
When Finance Minister Goodall Gondwe moved a motion on National Assembly indicating the law makers budget had been raised by K100 million to K84 billion.
However, the legislators said the K100 million increase was not enough and behind the scenes they were lobbying for K1 billion.
Most of the legislators expressed concern that the government failed to fund committee meetings.
One of them even suggested a raise in their K50,000 sitting allowance, saying the parliamentarians though called honourables, cannot afford hotel rooms but instead lodge in cheap low key areas of Chigwirizano or Bwandilo, arguing the allowance is not enough following the high cost of living.
Gondwe said treasury does not control National Assembly vote, saying the government funds parliament quarterly based on its annual budget and does not dictate which activity the money should be used.
He said after a newspaper report which said the government was withholding money for committee meetings, he inquired and discovered that the National Assembly has used 80 per cent of its budget allocations on committee meetings at the expense of other activities.
Leader of the House Francis Kasaira said it was unfortunate and unpatriotic for legislators to demand more money when Malawians are suffering due to harsh economic times.
However this did not go down well with the opposition MPs who demanded that the House be adjourned in order for them to consult and verify if indeed more money was used on committee meetings.
When the House reassembled, the government wanted the House to tackle the Office of the President and Cabinet first before taking on the National Assembly vote but this did not go down well with the opposition who kept on standing demanding to speak, causing commotion which forced First deputy speaker Esther Mcheka Chilenje to adjourn the House to Friday.
This was after the same members of parliament successfully forced the government to reduce the State House vote by K300 million from K5.4m to K5.1m when initially government had wanted the budget to be raised by K3 billion.
Rumphi east MP. Kamlepo Kalua, Lilongwe Mapuyu South MP Dzoole Mwale and Salima South MP said legislators had no problems to pass the contentious OPC vote unless the National Assembly budget increase was effected.
Things nearly went out offhand when an appropriation bill was circulated in the House, indicating how much the House was to pass in the House.
Opposition MPs called this uncalled for, inappropriate, undemocratic as they would not be forced to rubber stamp the budget.
They said it was bizarre to circulate in the House the bill indicating how much the budget is when debate on budget line was ongoing. This forced Gondwe to withdrew the bill and apologise.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :