Whole budget was False: What MP Nnensa told Parliament

From Parliaments Hansard: Thursday 16th February, 2012:

The First Deputy Speaker: Thank You. Honourable Member for Balaka South.

 Hon Mnesa (MAFUNDE-Balaka South): Thank you very much, Mr. First Deputy Speaker, Sir, for giving me the opportunity to contribute towards the speech that the Minister of Finance and Development Planning made on 10th February, 2012.

In his deliverance of speech, he was quite flowery although he was discussing serious issues and I congratulate him for his good delivery.

Mr. First Deputy Speaker, Sir, the Minister actually outlined the challenges that we are facing. The performance of the country over the past six months and also attempted to outline what Government is going to do to address those challenges. The challenges that Malawi is being faced with are common to everybody even school children know that we have problems with fuel and forex.

Nnensa: Opened the pandora's box

Mr. First Deputy Speaker, Sir, I have a lot of respect for the Minister of Finance and Development Planning. He is a very honest man and he is trying to do a good job under these very difficult economic times. (applause).

However, he gave the impression that the economy is in good hands but we do not get the confidence that  the Government knows which direction the country has taken. He clearly said that even if the International Monetary Fund programme was in place it would take another six months or so for us to reap the benefits.

Mr. First Deputy Speaker, Sir, I am very concerned that, at the last meeting, in November, the Minister stated clearly the IMF consultants were coming in December to assist us in addressing the issues. The IMF was here, it made its own prescription. However, we have been reluctant to take the prescription. I do not know why. But in our setting, if a doctor recommends a prescription and you do not like it, you probably go to a traditional healer to get an alternative view. Therefore, I am not surprised that the Executive is now consulting the Traditional Chiefs- (applause)- on issues of the devaluation.

This is a very technical issue, with due respect to our Chiefs. Please tikapezanakonko. Let us leave our Chiefs out of these technical issues.

The First Deputy Speaker: Honourable Member for Balaka South, there is a point of Order from the Minister of Health.

The Minister of Health (Hon. Kalilani): Thank you, Mr. First Deputy Speaker, Sir. The Honourable Member of Parliament holding the floor is completely out of Order to compare our Chiefs, whom we respect very much, with traditional healers. Their roles are completely different.

The First Deputy Speaker: Honourable Minister, did he mention traditional healers?

The Minister of Health (Hon. Kalilani): Yes!

The First Deputy Speaker: No, I do not think so.

The Minister of Health (Hon. Kalilani):  Yes, he did. You play the tape you will hear. He is comparing the traditional healers to our chiefs which is not acceptable.

The First Deputy Speaker:  If indeed that remark was made, it may have skipped my mind, otherwise it is not acceptable if, indeed, it was made. Thank you very much. Last point of Order, Deputy Minister of Lands, Housing and Urban Development.

The Deputy Minister of Lands, Housing and Urban Development (Hon. Rev Ngwira): The Honourable Member is out of Order to demand that the chiefs should not be involved in the devaluation of the kwacha because we know, these people, they are the ones who are handling the people at the grass-root and they should know what is happening in Malawi. That is why there is need for the chiefs to be involved so that they know what is happening. Thank you, Mr. First Deputy Speaker, Sir.

Mr. First Deputy Speaker, Sir: Thank you very much, Honourable Member for Lilongwe North East, please observe order. The entire bench, please observe Order. No, take what I am telling you now. Thank you.

 

The Minister of Local Government and Rural Development (Hon. H.A.R Mussa): No, we need your ruling, Mr. First Deputy Speaker, Sir. The Minister of Health stood on a point of Order. (interjection: Ahaaaa!) No, the Honourable Member has got to withdraw that statement of comparing chiefs with traditional healers.

Mr. First Deputy Speaker, Sir: That is what I am looking at, now.

The Minister of Local Government and Rural Development (Hon. H.A.R Mussa): Yaaaah, please!

Mr. First Deputy Speaker, Sir: Order Members, Honourable Member for Balaka South, with due respect, did you compare our chiefs with traditional healers?

Hon Mnesa (MAFUNDE-Balaka South): No. Mr. First Deputy Speaker, Sir, I talked about the traditional healers in a totally different context?

Mr. First Deputy Speaker, Sir: Can you repeat what you said?

Hon Mnesa (MAFUNDE-Balaka South): What I said is, when you get a prescription from a doctor and you think its too bitter like the Government thinks its too bitter to devalue, you go to a traditional healer to get relief, perhaps get an alternative prescription.

 

I further said, it is not right for the President to be consulting the Chiefs on technical issues like devaluation because it is not their role.

Honourable Minister, I know that the chiefs are under your ministry, but in that context, I do not think it is offensive. (interjection: Noooo!) That is my understanding; I give you the chance, Honourable Minister of Local Government and Rural Development.

The Minister of Local Government and Rural Development (Hon. H.A.R Mussa): Mr. First Deputy Speaker, Sir, it is unfortunate that the Honourable colleague across the aisle, whom I respect very much, can stand for the second time to twist what he said earlier on.

Look I can challenge you; we can have the tape replayed here. What he has said the second time is not what he said the first time. What he said the first time, he said he is not surprised that the Executive, this time around, had to consult with the chiefs just like the traditional leaders. No!

Mr. First Deputy Speaker, Sir: Thank you very much. Honourable Members I have taken note of that but dwelling on the proceedings I would like to make the following statement. If indeed the Member for Balaka South made that statement, that is not acceptable it is very unfortunate and I rule the Hansard to remove that part in our records.

Point of Order, Minister of Information and Civic Education. I will also allow Honourable Member for Karonga Nyungwe.

The Minister of Information and Civic Education (Hon. P. Kaliati) : Thank you Mr. First Deputy Speaker, Sir. The Honourable Member holding the floor is our of Order to say that the President is wrong to consult chiefs who are technical people to consult chiefs who are not technical people in these issues. Mr. First Deputy Speaker, Sir, the President is entitled, he has got the right of meeting each and every Malawian on each and every issue which he feels like consulting or talking or meeting or discussing.

But also let me remind the Honourable Member that the Chiefs are more technical experts that some of these Members who are here. And they are so intelligent as they can speak better English than some of the Members than even himself. Thank you.

Mr. First Deputy Speaker, Sir: Now last one, Honourable Member for Karonga Nyngwe.

Honourable Khwauli Msiska (AFORD-Karonga Nyungwe): Honourable Deputy Speaker, Sir, I find it very disturbing when a Member of Parliament has to be ruled out of order fore merely expressing his view point. Whether it is the Honourable Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, that s what was said or indeed what the member himself is insisting that is what he said. It does not warrant ruling either way out of order because it is an opinion. And those who have studied history of our chiefs, they will understand better that what some arguments here have been presented. I thank you, Mr. First Deputy Speaker.

Mr. First Deputy Speaker, Sir: Thank you very much. Honourable Member for Balaka South, you have the floor. But your time is being taken up by these points of Order, can you straight to the points? (noise)- please allow him to speak.

Hon. Mnesa (MAFUNDE-Balaka South) : The Zero Deficit Budget is a mockery to the suffering Malawians. MAFUNDE has got solid information that the K5 billion that the government claim to have over-collected is not correct. In fact, the Malawi Revenue Authority on December 30th and 31st, 2011 went to the Banks, NBS Bank, National Bank, Standard Bank, INDE Bank, Malawi Savings Bank and borrowed K15 billion, just to put into their account to show that they had over collected-(interjection: heeeee)

Mr. First Deputy Speaker, Sir: Honourable Member for Balaka South, that is a serious matter, a serious allegation, Leader of the House is standing to make a correction, Leader of the House.

Leader of the House (Hon. Dr. Chaponda) : Thank you, the First Deputy Speaker, Sir, the Honourable Member is totally out of order-

Mr. First Deputy Speaker, Sir:  Order Members

Leader of the House (Hon. Dr. Chaponda) : He is not living up to our standing order 86, where a Member is responsible for accuracy of any facts which he alleges to be true, because what he s claiming-(noise)-

Mr. First Deputy Speaker, Sir:  Members Order please

Leader of the House (Hon. Dr. Chaponda); What he is claiming it totally not true and I have also checked here with the Minister of Finance and Development Planning, let him produce evidence here, produce evidence here!

Mr. First Deputy Speaker, Sir: Thank you very much

Hon. Mnesa (MAFUNDE-Balaka South); Mr. First Deputy Speaker, Sir, I think this is deceit of the worst type from Government. If the Minister wants evidence, I would urge, Honourable First Deputy Speaker, Sir, to actually subpoena the Chief  Executive Officers (CEOs) of these banks, they should come to Budget and Finance Committee and make a statement under oath. They will confirm that. (Noise)

Mr. First Deputy Speaker, Sir: Order please, Order please! Order on my left, Order on my left! The Leader of the House

Leader of the House (Hon. Dr. Chaponda): Mr. First Deputy Speaker, Sir, he is the one who has to produce evidence in this House, not a question of subpoena or whatever, but let him produce the evidence in this House, that is the requirement.

Mr. First Deputy Speaker, Sir: Honourable Member for Balaka South, order please, order please! Honourable Members we cannot go on like this, exchanging words. Honourable Member for Balaka South, you are making a very serious allegation which the Government side would want you to produce evidence. So the onus is on you to make that available, thank you. Can you continue?

Hon. Mnesa (MAFUNDE-Balaka South) Mr. First Deputy Speaker, Sir, I would like the Minister of Finance and Development Planning to get the statements of the Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA) because MRA is under his ministry and will show how much the MRA borrowed.

Mr. First Deputy Speaker, Sir, we are discussing a budget on whose basis is very shaky, I would argue the Minister of Finance and Development Planning to go back and do a proper budget statement to reflect what is on the ground, including the borrowing that the ministry made through MRA from the banks.

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