The Leader of Opposition in Parliament and Malawi Congress Party president Lazarus Chakwera has described the 2017/18 National Budget unveiled yesterday in Lilongwe as ‘too ambitious’.
But diplomats said the 2017/18 fiscal plan was ‘very encouraging’.
Minister of Economic Planning and Development Goodall Gondwe said the 2017/18 National Budget seeks to sustain economic gains. He said the budget also wants to harness an expected rebound of the economy, on the back of a good harvest and budgetary support from the World Bank.
But Gondwe also made some daring moves by introducing tax on subscription television, a 35 percent tax on salary incomes of over K3 million a month and an increase in allocations to governance institutions such as the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB), Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Judiciary, Legal Aid Bureau and the Office of the Director of Public Officers’ Declarations.
While calling for some caution, donors praised the Finance Minister for striking a balance amid a tight fiscal environment.
European Union (EU) Ambassador Marchel Germann and United States (US) Ambassador Virginia Palmer said they welcomed the increase in funding, in particular, to governance bodies.
Said Palmer: “I am encouraged with the increase of funding to these institutions.”
African Development Bank (AfDB) country representative Andrew Mwaba hailed the increased funding to new initiatives especially in energy and agriculture, which he said, can take the poor out of poverty.
Mwaba also praised government for mobilising more resources for