Parliamentary committee wants more spending on development projects

The Budget and Finance Committee of Parliament has urged government to allocate more funds to productive development projects which will spur economic growth.

Chairperson of the Budget and Finance Committee Gladys Ganda made the remarks today when presenting the committee’s response to the 2020/21 budget.

According to Ganda, the Committee has observed an overdependence on donor funding for development spending as out of allocated development expenditure of K511.7 billion, the government has only committed a meagre 19.7 percent local resources.

She said this signals lack of commitment towards development spending.

“Putting it more clearly, the Committee noticed that recurrent expenditure has continued to claim the lion’s share of the 2020/21 FY budget (76.7 percent). It is projected at K1.68 trillion which represent 18 percent increase from K1.41 trillion last year. The increase is largely because of the increased allocation towards wages and salaries, public debt interest payments and social benefits.

“This cannot go on and the Committee recommends that the government should reprioritize recurrent expenditures to create fiscal space for productive development projects. This would help spur economic growth and increase the nation’s revenue base in the medium to long term,” she said.

Ganda also advised government to increase the allocation for maize purchase which is currently at K10 billion. She said the allocation will not be sufficient to cover the whole Malawi as intended because supply of maize is likely to significantly increase this year with the introduction of the Affordable Input Program.

“This may lead to farmers selling surplus at exploitative prices to middle men. Which is why your Committee, Madam Speaker, wishes to state quite clearly that ADMARC requires strict accountability and transparency in its dealings. Furthermore, the allocation towards maize purchases needs to be increased to carter for the anticipated increase in production volumes,” she said.

On his part, opposition spokesperson on Finance Joseph Mwanamvekha said the 2020/2029 budget is unfriendly to the business sector and a total loss because all the things that were promised in 2020 elections.

Mwanamvekha who is former Minister of Finance and Economic Development said the current budget is far from the campaign promises which government under Tonse Alliance pledged   to the general public at large.

He then condemned the Tonse Government for pledging to construct houses for Members of Parliament.

“As the situation is right now, revenues have gone down, the Malawi kwacha is falling but the budget report as well as the SONA mentioned the issue of building members of parliament’s houses which is a waste of money. There is no member of parliament who has no house,” he explained.

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