By Chancy Namadzunda:
Opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Spokesperson on Finance Joseph Mwanamvekha has described the 2020/21 mid-year budget statement as presented by Minister of Finance Felix Mlusu very flat and dull.
Making a presentation in Paliament on Friday, Mlusu said the 2020/21 budget has shot up from K2.2 trillion to K2.3 trillion because the emergency expenditure increases with the re-administration of the Malawi School Certificate of Education (MSCE) and Covid-19 pandemic.
He said the revised budget has a deficit of K810 billion up from the initial K755 billion representing 8.8 percent of gross domestic product.
Mlusu further said the country’s economy grew by 0.9 percent in 2020 and that the economy will swell by 3.5 percent this year with a 2021 growth being driven by a strong performance in agriculture.
However, Mwanamvekha said the 2020/21 budget performance in the first half unrealistic as revenues were not achieved as planned, there was also over expenditure.
“The budget as presented by the minister is not exciting, very flat and there was nothing new in it. It is off track because what was planned was not achieved.
“You can note that there is a projected deficit of almost K810 billion which is an increase from K755 billion, which is very huge. At the end of the day, we will be overcrowding the private sectoral, at the end it will not thrive.
“The budget is more consumptive and not developmental, there is little on development, there is more on monetary expenditure like salaries, wages, wages, pensions as well as interests payments,” said Mwanamvekha, a former Finance Minister.
He also said the mid-year budget statement does not give hope that farmers will earn from their harvests.
“We have been told that this year we will have bumper harvests, but in the budget there is not an increase of money for maize purchasing, if government has not planned for the purchase of maize, it means farmers may not get good prices,” he said.