Parliament’s Public Appointments and Commissions, Statutory Corporations and State Enterprises budget cluster committee has recommended an additional K4.6 billion budget allocation to the Office of President and Cabinet (OPC).
The committee observed that given the deployment of principal secretaries (PS) and other programmes, the OPC deserved increased allocation.
The recommendation follows a recent shake-up in the civil service that has seen some PSs deployed to OPC for what government termed ‘special duties’.
Presenting the committee’s report on Monday, chairperson Joyce Chitsulo told Parliament that based on interactions with concerned stakeholders, the K13 billion OPC budget was not enough to cater for personal emoluments and other recurrent transactions.
In the proposed 2019/20 National Budget, OPC was allocated K7.3 billion which rose at mid-year to K8.2 billion. However, K9.7 billion was spent by the end of the financial year.
Chitsulo said: “The cluster was worried with the pressure exerted on the budget by the large number of PSs deployed for special duties in the OPC. This alone requires an additional K550 million for salaries and benefits for the 11 principal secretaries.”
The committee also observed that the K6.5 billion allocation to State Residences may be inadequate, considering that last year, State Residences spent K15.5 billion despite an initial allocation of K7.4 billion.
The committee noted that State Residences require an additional K2.4 billion for capital expenditure.
Additionally, the committee proposed a K150 million allocation to Malawi Human Rights Commission for implementation of the Access To Information and the Gender Equality Acts.
Minister of Finance Felix Mlusu has since said he will provide a comprehensive response to the issues when winding up his budget statement in Parliament.