The Budget and Finance Committee of Parliament on Wednesday accused the People’s Party (PP) administration of favouring the South in road distribution projects in the 2012/13 budget.
Presenting the committee’s response to the 2012/13 budget, chairperson Eunice Napolo observed that out of the 13 proposed road projects in the fiscal year, only four are in the Northern Region and the Central Region, with the rest being in the Southern Region where President Joyce Banda comes from.
Said Napolo: “The committee seeks an explanation from the minister on the distribution of road projects. It is interesting to note that of the 13 proposed projects, nine are in the Southern Region and two each for the Central and Northern regions.”
This is the first budget for President Banda’s PP. However, the previous Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) administration under the late president Bingu wa Mutharika also came under similar criticism.
Napolo also queried government on why it has left out some road projects initiated by the previous government such as the Machinga-Chingale-Lirangwe; Jenda-Edingeni; Lilongwe-Kasiya; and the Thyolo-Thekerani highways.
In the budget, which Finance Minister Ken Lipenga presented in Parliament on June 8 2012, said K23 billion has gone to Transport and Public Infrastructure, K12 billion to road projects started by the DPP government and are at various stages of construction.
Among the road projects outlined in the South are: the Liwonde–Naminga; the Chikhwawa–Nchalo; the Zomba–Jali–Kamwendo–Phalombe-Chitakale; the Thyolo–Thekerani–Muona–Bangula; the Zomba–Blantyre.
The Central Region has the Lumbadzi–Dowa–Nchezi–Ntchisi Spur and the Msulira–Nkhotakota road whereas the North has the Jenda–Embangweni–Edingeni–Euthini and the Mzimba-Eswazini–Mzalangwe roads.
Napolo noted as commendable the successful negotiations for the return of the IMF’s Extended Credit Facility (ECF); review of some taxes such as the scrapping of the minimum tax based on turnover; removal of valued added tax on essential items and taxes on gains from sale of shares, among other things.