Lilongwe City Centre member of Parliament (MP) David Bisnowaty (Independent) yesterday objected to plans by the National Assembly to organise a meeting of committee chairpersons in Salima ahead of the budget cluster sessions scheduled for the next weeks.
The legislator has since asked government to be prudent in its spending to avoid sending mixed signals amid tough economic times facing the country.
Bisnowaty was reacting to Second Deputy Speaker of Parliament Clement Chiwaya’s announcement of the plan in his communication soon after the morning break time.
Rising on a point of order, Bisnowaty argued that the proposed meeting may just be a waste of resources.
He said: “This is unnecessary spending and why Salima when we have various conference rooms right here at Parliament? This should be out of order!
“For sure, this won’t augar well with the masses; not when the country is struggling to provide all the essential social services. I would, therefore, like to ask the House to consider cancelling the Salima trip and meet here.”
His sentiments earned him some applause from both the government and opposition benches.
In an interview later, government chief whip Henry Mussa agreed with Bisnowaty and echoed the calls for Parliament Secretariat to take heed of his cries.
He said: “I like his sense of maturity and boldness in tackling the issue. This is why I have always said the opposition can work with government in advancing the people’s agenda in the House. I will also personally take the issue with the office of the Speaker and the Secretariat to ensure the honourable member’s concerns on the matter, and of course our position as a government, are addressed.”
Bisnowaty was, however, non-committal on the next step he would take should his plea fall on deaf ears.
Under new Standing Orders, MPs go into cluster committees to best scrutinise the votes in the National Budget Statement once presented in the House. Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Development Goodall Gondwe is scheduled to present the budget this afternoon.