On the first day of the Committee of Supply on the 2018/19 National Budget on Tuesday, Parliament approved allocations to 13 votes, including State Residences, without amendments.
The other votes passed included the National Audit Office, Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development and Office of the President and Cabinet.
On the day, Parliament approved the allocation of K6.9 billion to State Residences, K142 billion to Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development, K42 billion to Malawi Defence Force and K11.8 billion to Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development.
But Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Development Goodall Gondwe deferred the Judiciary vote after a heated debate during which members of Parliament (MPs) asked him for a K200 million increment to cater for specialised courts specifically to handle Cashgate and elections cases.
Other votes that were deferred were a K239 billion to National Local Government Finance Committee and National Assembly whose proposed allocation is K13.9 billion.
The deferred votes are usually contentious and take up a lot of debate time.
The minister also told the National Assembly that Treasury has squeezed K4.8 billion for the youth internship programme after abolishing vacancies that have lingered for years.
The youth internship scheme has come under criticism from opposition political parties who described the initiative as an unsustainable campaign gimmick to woo the youth vote.
But Gondwe has defended the programme, saying it would instil principles of ethics and discipline of work to graduates who have trouble getting employment due to lack of experience.
In his winding up speech on the 2018/19 National Budget set to roll out on July 1, the minister said the Ministry of Labour, Youth, Sports and Manpower Development and Department of Human Resource Management and Development (DHRMD) would administer the programme.
He said: “The ministries of Agriculture, Health, Education and the Department of Economic Planning and Development will be the major beneficiaries of the programme where some clerical and sub-professional tasks could be done by these graduates.”
The DHRMD vote has a budget of K1.4 billion under the line item of education supplies and services to cater for the programme, Gondwe told Parliament on Tuesday.