Ministry of Education, Science and Technology has been allocated the biggest chunk of the 2012/2013 budget with a total allocation of K74.7 billion with the Ministry of Agriculture getting the second highest at K68 billion.
The education allocation represents 22 per cent of the total budget.
However, Minister of Finance Ken Lipenga maintained the K500 per 50 kilogramme bag subsidised fertiliser with the Farm Input Subsidy Programme (Fisp) this year getting K40.6 billion of the agricultural budget and targeting to benefit 1.5 million farm families, an increase from last yearâ€™s 1.4 million families.
Out of the total budget for the education sector, Lipenga said almost K2.8 billion will go towards recruiting 16 000 teachers for primary, secondary and special needs education while K1.8 billion will be for procurement of learning and teaching materials.
The amount has a total development budget of K10.4 billion which the Finance Minister said would among several other areas be used to construct and rehabilitate 4 000 primary classroom blocks and teachersâ€™ houses, girls hostels, and construction and expansion of community day secondary schools.
In the same education sector, Lipenga said public universities and other education sector subvented organisations have been allocated K13.8 billion.
He, however, bemoaned that the allocation for public universities were still far from adequate for the requirements of quality university education.
â€œThe cost of university education is in the ranges of K1 million to K1.5 million per student per year. The current contribution levels are K25 000 per student per year. However, institutions that offer lower qualifications than the university charge more than 10 times what the university beneficiaries contribute,â€ said Lipenga.
He said it was in this regard that government has set up a committee to review and recommend appropriate levels of university student contribution to cover their expenses and create a conducive learning environment.
Apart from the subsidy in the agricultural sector, Lipenga said government has set aside K1.5 billion for the special crops initiative for the promotion of crops such as soya beans, pigeon peas, sugar beans, groundnuts and rice with the aim of scaling up production mainly for export.
He also said the Green Belt Irrigation Initiative has been allocated K1 billion while construction of multipurpose dams has been allocated K500 million and K200 million for Malawi Irrigation Development Programmes with the aim of improving agricultural productivity.
Transport and Public Infrastructure has a total of K23 billion with K12 billion going towards completing road projects which are at different levels of construction while K11 billion is meant for road maintenance.
Lipenga announced that in the course of the year, government will finance several other projects such as construction of a commercial court in Blantyre, government office complex at Capital Hill, a maximum security prison in Lilongwe, and purpose-built archival building, museum and antiquities research centre in the capital city.
A total of K48.7 billion has gone to the public health, sanitation and HIV and Aids management, K16.9 billion to subvented organisations such as Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC), the newly formed Malawi Investment and Trade Centre, the Malawi Council for the Handicapped and the Small and Medium Enterprise Development Board.
Lipenga also said that a total of K27.5 billion has been allocated to four programmes in the safety net programmes which include Intensive Public Works Programme, the School Feeding Programme targeting 980,000 pupils, Schools Bursaries Programme targeting 16 480 needy students and the social cash transfer programme targeting 30 000 households across the country.