Finance, Economic Planning and Development Minister Goodall yesterday unveiled a K1.1 trillion 2016/17 National Budget which the opposition said is meant to please the donors not the poor Malawian.
Although Gondwe’s budget is K300 billion larger than the K903 billion budget in the 2015/16 fiscal year, economic watchers and the opposition faulted government for not doing enough in this new budget to bring the economy on track.
Malawi Congress Party (MCP) Spokesperson on Finance Kusamba Dzonzi, who is also member of Parliament (MP) for Dowa West described the 2016/17 National Budget as ‘hostile to Malawians and cannot be implemented without donor support’.
He said government will struggle to implement the budget as it has shrunk in real terms and while it has gone up in nominal terms.
He cited the current exchange rate of K690 against the dollar having eroded the real value of the budget.
People’s Party (PP) Spokesperson on Finance Ralph Jooma said Malawians should brace for tough times ahead.
“We should not expect any miracle to turn around the country’s economy as domestic borrowing will continue to soar, which will cloud out private sector and this will mean interest rates will go up making it impossible for the sector to expand.
“This also means they [private sector players] will be forced to borrow more money from commercial banks where interest rates are already too high” said Jooma.
Parliamentary Committee on Budget and Finance chairperson Rhino Chiphiko also expressed worry that with fuel and maize prices on the rise, Malawians will see inflation climb and prices of basic commodities will skyrocket.
“Less purchasing power would mean demand of products will go down, this would also mean production will be scaled down; hence, we should fear that a lot of companies will be forced to lay off their employees,” he said, adding Malawians should expect higher cost of living and high levels of poverty.
On his part, People’s Party Leader in Parliament Uladi Mussa said this year’s budget clearly means there will be a decline of social services, such as lack of medicines in hospitals while education standards will also continue to be poor. n