A heated debate erupted in Parliament yesterday afternoon and a division vote had to be taken before a Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (MoEST) vote to slash K471.3 million from the initial provision of K114.7 billion was approved.
The vote attracted the most scrutiny and arguments in the House that later approved seven other votes during a marathon session that saw the MPs at it until 7:03pm when Parliament adjourned in its task of scrutinising the budget according to every line ministry.
Most of the opposition members of Parliament (MPs) argued that reducing the vote’s funding would cripple the ministry’s core operations and further lower the standards of education in the country.
But Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Development Goodall Gondwe and Minister of Education, Science and Technology Emmanuel Fabiano and most MPs on the government side insisted that some activities can be stalled for a few months and, thereby, improve on the ministry’s cash flow.
After a long debate on the education vote, committee of supply chairperson Esther Mcheka Chilenje called the division after the oral vote of ‘Aye’s and the ‘No’s’ were almost evenly matched.
The other votes approved were for the Office of the Vice-President whose vote was adjusted upwards to just over K1.5 billion from K1.3 billion.
The other approvals were for the ministries of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation and Finance, Economic Planning and Development.
Other votes approved included the Accountant General’s Department, the Local Development Fund, Malawi Revenue Authority and the Road Fund Administration. n