Minister f Finance, Economic Planning and Development, Goodall Gondwe, has disclosed that as Parliament will start meeting next week, chances are high that some budget lines will be revised downwards because of continued withdrawal of direct budgetary support by donors.
So far, government is operating within the K1.149 trillion budget which Parliament approved on 30 June last year, but according to Gondwe, the fiscal blueprint is likely to be reduced mildly during the mid-term budget review meeting.
Initially, the budget was pegged at K1.141 trillion, but lobbies for increased funding to certain ministries, departments and agencies forced Gondwe to include an additional K8.6 billionto the budget to accommodate the suggestions.
In an interview yesterday, Gondwe disclosed that even though the Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA) is reportedly making strides in collecting domestic revenue that is supposed to largely fund the budget, it is obvious that some gaps will be identified.
“Looking at the kind of expenditure that we are having and the continued withdrawal of direct budgetary support, we expect some changes in the budget. Some budget lines will be adjusted, perhaps, to fund others which are being constrained.
“Regarding the actual budget, we do not expect much change… So far, all the loans that Parliament approved are in the pipelines and they constitute a significant part of the budget,” said Gondwe.
The Finance Minister also disclosed that during the meeting, relevant authorities will present details regarding the hunger situation and the procurement of maize whose funds were approved by Parliament.
Asked whether the National Planning Commission–whose establishment was approved by Parliament–is finally in place, Gondwe said a lot of work is expected to take place, such that this far, the commission has not yet been established.
“We will be advertising for the position of director of the commission. This will most likely be a Malawian economist. Other officers in the commission will also be those that have vast experience in issues of economic development,” said Gondwe.
In an earlier interview, the Finance Minister said some staff from his ministry will be annexed to the commission because it will now be responsible for planning purposes.
Meanwhile, the opposition side of Parliament has warned that the government side will have a tough time in the House as the former will press for answers in different socio-economic problems in the country.