By Kondanani Chilimunthaka
Tonse alliance adminstration under the leadership of his Excellency president Dr. Lazarus Chakwera has finally presented the first ever budget since coming into power on June 28, 2020.
Presenting a 4 months provisional budget in the August house which is pegging at over K700 billion that is seeking the house to authorise the spending by government from July 1 to October 31 before the main budget is presented, the just appointed finance minister Honorable Felix Mlusu said there is need for the MPs to pass this partial budget as the fiscal year for 2019/2020 comes to an end on June 30,2020. His presentation had a lot meaningful issues to do with both poor and rich Malawians of all levels such as the universal subsidized fertilizer which he said will be at K4,495 per 50kg bag replacing the subsidized K5,000 per 50kg bag to selected 1,000,000 households as it was in the previous budget of the previous government. He further said that the development expenditure in the current budget has a total of K169.8 billion of which K119.8 billion is foreign financed and the K50 billion is domestically financed for the ongoing projects only. The finance minister in his presentation told the August house that the net domestic borrowing is at K209.5 billion.
The minister continued his presentation by touching on policy and measures, saying the Chakwera government has considered in the provisional budget: Affordable Inputs Program where by all smallholder farmers estimated at 3.5 million will access fertilizer at K4,495 per bag with each farmer being able to buy 2 bags of fertilizer, maize seeds and legumes. He also said that the National IDs will be linked to electronic system and border security be tightened to avoid cross border smuggling. Enjoying full support from the government MPs, the finance minister said the provisional budget also has Tax free band increased from the current K45,000 to K100,000 and MEDEF increased from K15 billion to K40 billion and be gradually increased to K75 billion with an expectation of 200,000 enterprises and inturn over 600,000 jobs being created for improved livelihood of Malawians with the youths and women being priority without any political interference. Hon. Mlusu also hinted that the Admarc has been allocated resources to purchase maize and other farm produce and that Admarc will be allowed to borrow from other commercial banks for farmers to have reliable markets to sell their produce.
On wages the provisional budget seeks the engagement of the MCTU and ECAM by the government for an increase from K35,000 per month to K50,000 per month as minimum wage.
The house has since been adjourned sun die.