Members of Parliament (MPs) on Monday approved funding to State Residences, National Audit Office (NAO), Judiciary and the Office of the Director of Public Officers Declarations (ODPOD).
The House went into Committee of Supply after a heated debate on the confirmation of Duncan Mwapasa as Inspector General of Police hit a deadlock following disagreements on both sides on interpretation of the law which took the whole afternoon up to 4:30pm.
This forced Leader of the House Kondwani Nankhumwa to ask for an extension of time to allow the House go into Committee of Supply. People’s Party Leader John Chikalimba and his UDF counterpart Lilian Patel said the sole purpose of the current meeting was to pass the 2010/20 National Budget and not to discuss Mwapasa’s confirmation.
However, passing of the four votes was not an easy ride for government as MPs, especially from the opposition side, queried vote 050, State Residencies, which has been given K7.4 billion.
Standing to speak on the vote, Kasungu Central MP Ken Kandodo (Malawi Congress Party-MCP) argued that the allocation was too big for one financial year.
“Why do we have a huge sum to utilities at State Residencies? What is it that they want to pay for?” he asked.
Lilongwe City South West MP Nancy Tembo (MCP) also wondered if the President was aware that State residencies were allocated such amounts, fearing abuse of the resources.
But in response, Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Development Joseph Mwanamvekha said the increase in amount to settle arrears the institution has with utility bodies.
“As you know, State Residences owes utility bodies large sums of money so we want to clear all the arrears that we have with water boards,” he said.
About six key ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) are said to owe the boards over K26 billion for an accumulated period of four years, with State Residencies owing about K3 billion, according to a Water Boards Management report.
The State Residencies Vote was passed followed by Vote 060, NAO which has K2.3 billion, Vote 070, the Judiciary with K11. 4 billion and Vote 081 Odpod which has K855.6 million. Vote 080, National Assembly, which has K17.5 billion, has been deferred.