Members of Parliament (MPs) yesterday joined hands to protest a minimal increase of K100 million in the allocation for the National Assembly and accused Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Development Goodall Gondwe of bulldozing the House when he circulated the Appropriation Bill before all allocations were approved.
The vote, 080, was deferred for a second time yesterday after Gondwe conceded that the two sides should go back and consult their records to check if indeed the budget has been reduced arbitrarily.
Debate on the Parliament allocation started before 3pm and after one—hour break for consultations, it continued with more arguments and counter-arguments on the way forward.
First Deputy Speaker Esther Mcheka Chilenje had to suspend the Committee of Supply and subsequently adjourned the House when the government and opposition failed to reach a consensus.
Apart from the Parliament allocation, opposition MPs protested the circulation of the Appropriation Bill before the conclusion of Committee of Supply.
Government was accused of forcing the House to rubber stamp allocations by bringing the bill which could be subject to amendments.
MPs who stood up when Gondwe introduced the National Assembly revised allocation, claimed that Treasury owed Parliament money which has prevented parliamentary committees from convening.
However, Gondwe argued that Parliament had exhausted 80 percent of its allocation towards committee meetings by December 2015.
Dedza North West MP and chairperson of the Public Accounts Committee, Alekeni Menyani, said the allocation to Parliament was not even adequate to carry out all activities.
The National Assembly vote was among five which were deferred on Monday for various reasons.
On the contentious State Residences vote which the House protested even when it had suffered a K400 million decrease was passed eventually after Gondwe explained that the construction of the banquet hall had been suspended due to lack of locally sourced funding for projects.
Gondwe said President Peter Mutharika had instead opted to construct another marquee at Kamuzu Palace in Lilongwe.
On Vote 090 for Office of the President and Cabinet which was allocated a K3.2 billion increase which members queried was also passed without a problem