Government has allocated 1 billion Malawi kwacha to State House lawn while asking for contributions for Cyclone Freddy response saying it does not have money to support thousands of people affected by the impact of the cyclone.
In the K3.78 trillion National Budget, K24 billion has been allocated to state residences. The amount is a K5 billion increase from the 2022-23 national budget.
Published reports indicate that the allocation for State Residences include K1.1 billion for landscaping and K60 million for agricultural inputs.
Last year, millions were also allocated to the lawns and the funds were used to establish flower gardens around state residences and to purchase equipment.
Minister of Finance Sosten Gwengwe has told the local media that the K1.1 billion caters for land improvements at state residences and wages for those employed to manage lawns and flowers.
Gwengwe has justified the expense saying lawns at state residences “must be befitting to the first citizen.”
Apart from the K1 billion for lawns, K3 billion has also been allocated to renovation of State House in Lilongwe and Sanjika Palace in Blantyre.
“Sanjika Palace has pipes problem that require immediate plumbing services. Kamuzu Palace (State House) also needs rehabilitation. The lifts there are broken and require fixing,” Gwengwe told Parliament.
The allocation comes months after State House in Lilongwe also underwent renovation in 2021.
While Government continues to allocate billions to the president’s residences, over 500,000 Malawians are homeless in the Southern Region after their houses were destroyed by floods induced by Cyclone Freddy.
The Lazarus Chakwera administration has provided K1.6 billion in response to Cyclone Freddy and has been begging for financial assistance from well-wishers to support the Cyclone Freddy survivors
On social media, Malawians have bashed the government over the allocation to state residences.
“That one billion kwacha could have been used to construct 588 low income houses like the one built by kondwani kachamba for Cyclone Freddy victims, but alas the government has decided to use it for kutchetchela ndi kuzalira maluwa ku nyumba ya a president kwinako zikulowa mmatumba mwa anthu (landscaping at State House while some of the money is stolen by officials). We joke too much as a country,” one person wrote on social media.
Another person said: “And we want donors to shoulder the cyclone victims reallocation when we can spend so much in useless things?”
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