United Democratic Front (UDF) says there is need to infuse the sense of urgency on the way the country will be governed in the next five years and beyond observing Malawians are no longer patient as they demand to enjoy the fruits of economic success.
UDF’s Blantyre Malabada MP Ishmael Nkumba, who is the party’s parliamentary spokesman on budget issue, said that although there has been an increase in the country’s gross domestic product (GDP), the same is has not translated into improved lives for the majority of the people of Malawi.
“Someone said; we do not eat GDP since they are just figures. I can not agree more,” said the UDF parliamentarian.
The UDF youthful parliamentarian was however quick to describe the budget as “people centered” considering the pro-poor programs which it contains but at the same time sarcastically calling it a ” repositioning budget” which he said was aimed at ” mending fences with the people of Malawi.”
He said: “We in the UDF have couched this a people-centred budget owing to allocations aimed at supporting pro-poor programs. If this was during the campaign period we could have called it a campaign budget. Now that the campaign is over perhaps it is simply a ‘repositioning budget’ mending fences with the people.”
UDF legislator warned, however, that the people of Malawi will only appreciate the budget once it is implemented.
In his 17 paged response entitled ” getting delivery right with the clear sense of urgency”, Nkumba tackled a number of areas as outlined in the budget where among other things wondered why some measures aimed at improving government payment systems are only being introduced now.
“We also understand that payment of certificates of completed works will be made upon technical verification and evaluation of the completed work by the Treasury. This is very surprising that minister is announcing this measure now when this should have been the norm,” he wondered.
The UDF did not spare councils saying decentralisation has failed to curb corruption and abuse of government funds in district councils.
Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Development Joseph Mwanamvekha presented the K1.731 trillion 2019/20 National Budget statement in Parliament early this month and the House will pass the Appropriation Bill next month.