Opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) spokesperson on finance Joseph Mwanamvekha on Monday punched holes in the K2.2 trillion maiden substantive budget for the Tonse Alliance administration, christened the 2020/21 budget as a consumptive financial plan as opposed to development-oriented as 92 percent of domestic revenues are financing recurrent expenditures.
=Political parties represented in Parliament have started to give their official input to the budget as the House reconvened on Monday for general debate having broken into cluster committees to scrutinise the fiscal plan.
Finance Minister Felix Mlusi presented the budget --with domestic revenue projected at K1.2 trillion or 20.1 percent of gross domestic product (GDP)-- on September 11 2020.
Commenting in his capacity as DPP's spokesperson on finance, Manamvekha faulted the budget, saying the budget is unfriendly to the business sector as no fiscal incentives necessary for cushioning and supporting the struggling private sector during this Covid-19 period have
He congratulated Mlusi for what he called his bravery by accepting the appointment of Minister of Finance at the time when the country is at the crossroads.
"I know the Minister as a professional, experienced and capable person. However, he has been put at the very deep end of the sea by being tasked to deliver on unattainable and insurmountable promises which he was not party to. I feel sorry for the Honorable Minister of Finance and we will keep him in our prayers," said Mwanamvekha, an immediate former Finance Minister.
He said the financial plan is "unrealistic" because all assumptions used in the Budget are "overlay exaggerated."
Said Mwanamvekha: " It is overburdening in debts as it proposes a yawning worst ever budget deficit in the history of this country of K754.8 billion which is equivalent to 7.5 percent of the budget."
Mwanamvekha and lastly the national budget is a total loss to Malawians because all the promises made during the June 23 Fresh Presidential elections have not been featured.
"In effect, I agree with the description of this budget by the Consumers Association of Malawi, who described it as a 'sham," said Mwanamvekha.
Said Mwanamvekha: "Madam Speaker, it is sad to note that the very same Malawians that queued up that chilly Tuesday morning on 23rd June 2020 to cast their vote, waited with unabated breath to hear the Hon Finance Minister unpacking the flagship Tonse Alliance consolidated manifesto into reality and a budget that takes them to the promised land, but alas! they had a rude awakening to note that they will never see the promised land.
"Malawians were in shock and in total disbelief hearing the Minister ending his budget statement without mentioning most of the promises made during the campaign period."
He said Malawians feel cheated that the Tonse Alliance maiden budget was elusive on the promises of universal subsidy program where every Malawian anxiously waited with abated breath to be buying a 50 Kilogram bag of fertilizer at K4,495.
Some of the issues he said Malawians were expecting in the budget included; The K15,000 monthly allowance for the senior citizens aged 65 and above; Free water and electricity connections; The mega farms that should have helped to realize the yet another failed promise of one million jobs in the first year of the Tonse Alliance Government; Obtaining a Passport at a reduced price of K14,000 from the initial K90,000.
Other he said included; The 400 modern roads within 8 months of Tonse Alliance administration; The construction of Health Centers on every 7 kilometers and the much talked about three meals a day.
"Madam Speaker, it is even shocking to note that the budget is silent on Covid-19 risk allowances for medical doctors, nurses, teachers, the police, immigration and the prison staff just to mention but a few.
"Madam Speaker, if the aforementioned is anything to go by, then it is quite surprising that the Budget should have the theme 'Living the Promise.' Which promise Madam Speaker? Otherwise, Madam Speaker, the most appropriate theme for the 2020/2021 Budget should have been 'the Breaking of the Voters Promises'. That would have augured well with the Budget which was presented in this august House," he said.
The general debate on the budget is expected to conclude with a speech by the Finance Minister. Immediately after the winding speech, the House will go into a Committee of Supply.
The House will then pass the Appropriation Bill and also consider any remaining business on the Order Paper before adjournment of Parliament Sine Die.