As parliament reconvenes for midterm budget review, the Malawi Economic Justice Network-MEJN has called on legislators to be radical in questioning performance of the President Joyce Banda maiden budget.
The call comes amid mounting pessimism that the austerity budget by the People’s Party government has not lived up to its billing to offer relief to Malawians, most of them living in gut-wrenching poverty.
The midterm budget review also comes amid reports that a number of government departments and ministries have overspent following devaluation of the kwacha.
MEJN Executive Director Dalitso Kubalasa said economic reform measures aligned in the 2012/13 budget have not yet cushioned most Malawians from the economic shocks they have been through over the years, hence the need for a radical review of the President Banda financial plan.
“Malawi had a very difficult budget with all the challenges, and six months down the line we have seen that some of the challenges faced by Malawians still persist. We expect the lawmakers to raise all the concerns,” said Kubalasa.
During the previous sitting of parliament some MPs backed by analysts called for a supplementary budget following a drop of the country’s buying power.
But government resisted saying the budget was still in tandem with its assumptions.
For instance government projected that inflation would close the year 2012 at about 18 per cent way below the 33 per cent recorded.
Said Kubalasa “There were assumptions that were made when the budget was being passed and all these are having their effects on the budget and the various allocations,
“We have seen some variances with respect to the attention and compliance to the promises made so there is need for tough question to find the way forward”.
He noted some slippages on the fiscal side which has propelled over expenditures in other government departments and ministries.
“Some of these over expenditures could be explained but some of them still remain very questionable,” said Kubalasa.
This is the last session of parliament which will have three meetings in between before the national assembly is dissolved pending the 2014 presidential, parliamentary and local government elections.