- The Ministries of Agriculture and Food Security, Health and Education have respectively been given a lion’s share in the tentative 2006/07 budget presented by the Minister of Finance Goodall Gondwe last Friday in the House.
The budget, pegged at kwacha 134.704 billion but with expenditures amounting to K138. 705b leaving a deficit of K4billion, grants K16.817b to Agriculture and Food Security representing 12.2% of total budget.
“This is an action-packed budget that would ensure that people do not go hungry even in the absence of the rain,” said Gondwe presenting his budget.
In the social sector, Education gets an overall of K20.5b including Universities and this, according to the Finance Minister is the highest lot the sector has got in the Sadc Region.
From the Education budget Universities get a cut of K3b from which Mzuzu University gets K650m, with K40m specially allocated for development at the college.
Gondwe also announced that the construction of the Lilongwe University of Science and Technology (LUSTEC) commences this year with an allocation of K50m.
Ministry of Healthy gets an overall chunk of K22.634b, representing16% of total expenditure.
“Social sectors, particularly consisting of Education and Health have an allocation accounting for approximately 34.6% of total expenditure in the 2006/07 budget,” Gondwe said adding that this is in parallel with the sectors, which President Mutharika described as priorities for immediate economic growth purposes.
The 2006/07 has also taken on board the legislature’s long over due outcry of constituency development fund pegging it at K2m per constituency which the Finance Minister said would be monitored by the MPs.
“Each MP would decide on what kind of development to embark in their constituencies and it would be the MP’s responsibility to supervise and account for the expenditures,” said Gondwe amid murmuring from the House.
The opposition has so far welcomed the budget statement but said more need to be done for it to benefit the Malawians.
In its pre-budget submission the Civil Society Coalition for Quality Basic Education (CSCQBE) proposed an allocation of at least 18% of the total budget to education in pursuit of the 26% international recommendation required to meet the education for all (EFA) and education millennium development goals (MDGs)
CSCQBE Research Monitoring and Evaluation Officer, Clara Chindime, who made the pre-budget presentation in Lilongwe prior to the budget sitting, declined to comment immediately after the Finance Minister’s budget presentation saying it was too early to do so.
“We can not comment now, we need to go through the whole budget statement and all related
documents before we make a comment. Besides, Limbani Sapato would be the right person to comment on behalf of (CSCQBE).
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