Malawi Minister of Finance Ken Lipenga on Tuesday unveiled the new revised figures in the 2012/13 Mid-Term Budget Review which heavily slashed allocations to ministries of Agriculture, Education and Lands and Housing, the Office of the President and Cabinet (OPC) and State Residences.
The cuts from the other votes are set to accommodate the extra K5.7 billion (about $15.8 million) to go towards civil servants’ new salaries announced two weeks ago following an agreement between the Government Negotiating Team (GNT) and the Civil Service Trade Union (CSTU) which gave the lowest paid government employees 61 percent increase and the highest five percent.
But, during the Committee of Supply in Parliament on Tuesday that followed after Lipenga presented the revised figures, the House shot down a vote for the OPC after the minister failed to justify the overall increment of almost K1 billion (about $2 777).
The OPC had an approved budget of K4.291 billion (about $11.9 million) before the funds were increased to about K5.598 billion (about $15.6 million) in the initial Mid-Term Budget Review. The figure was revised downwards by almost K300 million (about $833 333) to K5.298 billion (about $14.7 million) to accommodate the civil servants salary increase.
While the other votes suffered cuts from the initial revised mid-term budget, the National Assembly on the other hand has an increment of almost K250 million (about $694 444) to its revised budget which was approved at K4.088 billion (about $11.4 million) before being raised to K4.703 billion (about $13.1 million) and again to K4.953 billion (about $13.8 million). Coincidentally, during the Committee of Supply, Lipenga decided to defer the vote.
Due to the restructuring of the initial mid-term budget, the Department of Human Resources Management and Development (DHRM&D) has seen a sharp increase from a revised budget of K511.66 million (about $1.4 million) to K5.992 billion (about $16.7 million), reflecting K5.5 billion (about $15.3 million) jump.
The minister said the jump came about because all the resources for the civil servants’ increased salaries have been channelled to the DHRM&D as the new emoluments for each department are being worked on. He said after the calculations the money will be channelled back to concerned departments.
In a statement, before the House moved into the Committee of Supply stage, Lipenga said although there are changes to some of the votes the total revised budget figures that show the overall budget over spending by K68 billion (about $188.9 million) remain the same.
Initially, the 2012/13 approved budget was almost K408.4 billion (about $113.4 million) before it was revised to K475.8 billion (about $132.2 million) when Lipenga presented the Mid-Term Budget Review on February 15.
According to the new figures as shown on the order paper, the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security has seen its revised budget of K87.798 billion (about $243.9 million) to K85.748 billion (about $238.2 million) while Education, Science and Technology has seen a cut of almost K1.5 billion (about $4.2 million) from K62.615 billion (about $173.9 million) down to K61.115 billion (about $169.8 million).
The Ministry of Lands and Housing has seen its revised budget going down by almost K500 million (about $1.4 million) from K7.28 billion (about $20.2 million) to K6.78 billion (about $18.8 million), OPC has sacrificed a total of K300 million (about $833 333) thereby seeing its revised budget going down to K5.298 billion (about $14.7 million).
State Residences, which was among the two votes so far deferred, has also seen itself sacrificing almost K200 million (about $555 555) after its budget was revised from K3.792 billion (about $10.5 million) to K3.592 billion (about $9.98 million).
In the overall budget, State Residences has its budget increased by almost K1.8 billion (about $5 million) as its budget jumped from the approved amount of K1.842 billion (about $5.11 million).
Among other votes that have also sacrificed their revised budgets include the Accountant General’s Department with almost K50 million (about $138 888), Local Government and Rural Development and Ministry of Finance with almost K30 million (about $83 333) each as well as Economic Planning and Development, Tourism and Culture, Transport and Public Works with K20 million (about $55 555) each.
As of Tuesday, the Committee of Supply approved 11 votes, rejected one and deferred three which also include the National Local Government Finance Committee.