HRDC says allocation for maize purchase is small

HRDC Chairperson Gift Trapence

The Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) says funds allocated for maize purchase in the budget are not enough considering the current hunger situation and the dry spells which are expected to affect crop yield.

HRDC Chairperson Gift Trapence made the remarks after Finance Minister Simplex Chithyola Banda presented the 2023/24 budget in Parliament on Friday. In the budget, K12 billion has been allocated for maize purchase while ADMARC has been given K40 billion for its operations.

Trapence said government should be clear on the funds that have been allocated for importation of food in the country.

“The figures should be clear because we have noted that the funds are small compared to the current situation. They should tell us how they are going to procure maize. We don’t want reports to register reports of people dying from hunger,” he said.

He added that his organisation will engage different parliamentary committees to ensure that this issue of food is emphasized.

While presenting the budget, Chithyola said Malawi requires about K260 billion to assist people affected by hunger but has so far mobilized K151 billion with the help of development partners.

The 2024/2025 fiscal year which has been programmed at K5.98 trillion, representing 31.9 percent of GDP at Parliament today in Lilongwe.

Out of the total expenditure, recurrent expenses are estimated at K4.21 trillion, representing 22.5 percent of GDP and 70.4 percent of total expenditure.

Development expenditure is estimated at K1.77 trillion, of which K1.39 trillion is for foreign financed projects (Part 1) and K383.6 billion is for domestic financed projects (Part II).

The Financial Year ’s overall balance is estimated at a deficit of K1.43 trillion, which is 7.6 percent of GDP. Chithyola said this deficit will be financed through domestic borrowing amounting to K1.28 trillion, representing 6.0 percent of GDP and K150 billion foreign borrowing.