Consumers Association of Malawi (Cama) has faulted some government’s priority areas in the 2020/21 financial year, arguing that Treasury ignored the basic policies and promises that could generate resources to support livelihoods.
The sentiments are in reaction to the K2.2 trillion proposed 2020/21 National Budget which Minister of Finance Felix Mlusu delivered in Parliament on Friday.
The minister said the budget framework’s key focus is achieving sustainable and inclusive growth, macroeconomic stability and sound financial management, adding that the budget has been developed under the theme Living the Promise.
But in a statement issued on Saturday, Cama executive director John Kapito said the budget does not respond to any economic recovery and is a complete departure from the many promises that were made during the campaign.
He said: “A budget statement is a commitment and letter of intent with Malawians.
“Most Malawians expected that the new government would do things differently from the previous government, but unfortunately the current budget statement is unable to articulate key issues that the government needs to pursue to resuscitate the ailing economy and people’s livelihoods.”
Kapito singled out free connection of electricity and water, the reduced prices of passport and driving licences, the creation of one million jobs and removal of taxes on some basic goods and services as some of the ignored promises that the new administration made during the campaign.
“Government has instead introduced measures that will hurt many consumers such as the introduction of new taxes on some products such as cooking oil and taxes on winning bets, which has become a new income generator to the many unemployed Malawians,” he said.
In the budget, Mlusu said the Affordable Inputs Programme, which has been allocated K160.2 billion, is expected to benefit 4.2 million farming families.
Out of the K160.2 billion, K132.7 billion is for fertiliser payments, K25.7 billion for maize seed and K1.8 billion for logistics.
Smallholder farmers will buy fertiliser at K4 495 per 50 kilogramme bag.