Member of Parliament (MP) for Lilongwe Mapuyu South Joseph Njobvuyalema has described the country’s national budget formulation process as lopsided as it does not incorporate input from the grass roots.
Speaking to Nation on Sunday on Tuesday, Njobvuyalema said there is need for the pre-budget consultation meetings to start from the decentralised government departments so that the final budget represents people’s aspirations.
“Consultations should seriously include views or input of people expressed through such forums as those regularly organised by local non-governmental organisations because they represent shortfalls being met by those departments or officials that directly deal with the people such as health care and agricultural extension workers,” said Njobvuyalema.
While agreeing with the lawmaker, chairperson of the Human Rights Consultative Committee (HRCC) Robert Mkwezalamba asked government to provide feedback to stakeholders after it has consulted them on budget formulation.
In his remarks, Malawi Economic Justice Network (Mejn) executive director Dalitso Kubalasa bemoaned the lack of legislation mandating the Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Development to attend grassroots institutionalised pre-budget consultations.
“But it is equally important that government has made this [consultations] part of the budget calendar. However, if the minister were to attend such meetings, they would be fulfilling and enriching,” he said.
Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Development Goodall Gondwe has since wound up budget formulation consultation meetings.