Employers association applauds govt for ‘ambitious’ budget

The Employers Consultative Association of Malawi (ECAM) has commended the Malawi government for what it has described as an ‘ambitious’ 2022/2023 National Budget.

This is according to ECAM’s response to the 2022/2023 National Budget which was recently presented in the August house by the Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs Sosten Gwengwe, estimated at K2.84 trillion.

According to the budget response document which Malawi24 has seen, ECAM is excited about the inclusion of some competing priorities which it claimed some were proposed by the employers association.

The association said it is commendable that government has crafted a budget which has initiatives to increase the aggregate demand for goods and services, efforts to bail out local industries from the effects of COVID-19 and promotion of human capital development.

In addition, ECAM says it is so grateful that the budget also aims at public debt management, export diversification and import substitution which it says will see the government easily achieving some highlights in the 2063 agenda.

“The 2022-2023 budget highlights government’s commitment to achieve enablers of the long-term Malawi 2063 Agenda. The emphasis of maintaining macroeconomic indicators on track to ensure enabling business environment, will facilitate economic growth in this time of COVID-19 crisis and the after-effects of Tropical Cyclone Ana.

“Overall government should be commended for crafting a budget that is forward-looking and finely balancing it amidst many competing priorities and in the face of reduced revenues due to Covid-19 pandemic and the anticipated after-effects of Tropical Cyclone Ana,” reads part of the budget response.

The association further said it is delighted that the budget show indications in increasing funds to be used in promoting the fight against corruption which it says is a major drain of public resources and affects the delivery of public services.

However, ECAM says it is saddened by the budget’s silence on improvements in financing of governance institutions such as the Anti-Corruption Bureau claiming the fight against corruption needs more resources.

The association has also expressed concerns about the revision of the Pay As You Earn (PAYE) tax with the revised tax brackets of 30 percent for incomes between K330, 000 to K3 million per month.

ECAM says the tax imposed on the income earned between K330, 000 to K3 million will not increase disposable incomes since most employed Malawians earn below K1 million and says this will see more Malawians suffering the effects of increased cost of living.

“ECAM pleads with government to consider revising the PAYE tax bracket so that earnings between K100,000 and 1 million have the same PAYE tax rate. to be accompanied by measures that strengthen the public finance management system,” reads another part.

On job creation, the association has insisted on the continuation and expansion of investments in public works which it says will see more jobs being created and stimulating aggregate demand for goods and services