Minister of Finance Simplex Chithyola Banda has maintained the provision for the Affordable Inputs Programme (AIP) at the approved level of MK109.82 billion and K12 billion for maize purchase despite the devaluation of the Malawi Kwacha.
The minister revealed this in his presentation for Mid-year budget review at Parliament in Lilongwe.
In his speech, Chithyola Banda said that in an effort to contain expenditure on AIP, government have maintained its provision with a plan to cushion any devaluation effects using beneficially contributions.
On Maize purchase, he explained that the allocation for maize purchase has been maintained at MK12 billion.
However, Government has negotiated with the World Bank for support and therefore the amount has been complemented by a US$20 million (MK34 billion) support from the World Bank for the procurement or importation of Maize to supplement the local supply for distribution so that nobody goes on empty stomach and to contain food inflation.
“Madam Speaker, according to the 2023 Malawi Vulnerability Assessment Committee (MVAC) report of August 2023, it is projected that 4.4 million people in Malawi will experience acute food insecurity. These people will need food assistance and it is for this reason that Government was proactive to start negotiations with donors for support to procure more maize even from abroad to support these households.
” Honourable Members might wish to note that these resources are already available from the World Bank through Agricultural Commercialization (AGCOM) Project to support the purchase of maize,” he elaborated.
In support of the country’s food production system, he said that the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) will facilitate the purchase of fertilizer through the Crisis Response Initiative valued at US$ 6million or MK10.2 billion.
He then asked the August House to join him in applauding the country’s Development Partners for coming back to support the country in its efforts to recover, develop and protect its economy.
“Under recovery, having successfully negotiated for the ECF with the IMF and budget support with all other development partners, Government is already addressing the 4Fs which are Forex, Fuel, Food and Fertilizer scarcity concerns.
“The ECF has unlocked a number of budget support disbursements to ease forex and fuel scarcity concerns with Israel paying invoices for Malawi in importation of fuel, fertilizer and pharmaceuticals, the World Bank coming up with a facility to procure maize for Malawi to curb food insecurity and IFAD, AfDB, Japan and Israel supporting food production through importation of fertilizer,” he said.
He assured that Government will continue with radical reforms in order to sustain the economic recovery.