Opposition MPs on Wednesday forced Minister of Finance Ken Lipenga to defer approval of an allocation to the Ministry of Agriculture which would have included an additional K20 billion already spent on the Farm Input Subsidy Programme (Fisp).
The MPs demanded a report of the subsidy programme before they could approve the allocation.
Parliament is currently scrutinising allocations to various ministries and departments as part of the mid-term budget which Lipenga presented in Parliament on February 15.
On Wednesday, Parliament approved additional allocations to the Ministry of Lands and Ministry of Youth and Sports but deferred votes for the Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Disability and Elderly Affairs and Ministry of Irrigation and Water Development.
Lilongwe Msozi South MP Vitus Dzoole Mwale demanded to know how the Fisp contracts were awarded, how many coupons were printed and why beneficiaries still had coupons when the selling season was closed.
“We know the minister is just bringing this to normalise the situation. Who authorised you to spend that money? Bring to the House urgently a special report on Fisp before vote is approved,” Dzoole Mwale said.
Lilongwe Mpenu MP Makala Ngozo demanded a list of contracted transporters, alleging that some of them diverted fertilisers meant for certain depots.
Lipenga was forced to breakdown the K20 billion increase saying only K13.7 billion was going towards the subsidy.
About K603 million is going towards salary adjustments and K3.4 billion to replenish the grain reserves among others.
Minister of Agriculture Peter Mwanza’s assertion that this year’s subsidy programme was the best irked some MPs.
Mulanje West MP Patricia Kaliati rubbished the claim saying if the programme was the best, selling points in her constituency would have subsidised fertiliser in stock.
Leader of opposition John Tembo said Parliament could not just approve the revised budget to the ministry with all the queries from MPs.