Speaker of the National Assembly Catherine Gotani Hara yesterday announced extension of Parliament’s three-day break to pave the way for the court-sanctioned fresh presidential election.
In her communication, the Speaker said Parliament, which was scheduled to reconvene on June 25 for continuation of debate on the proposed 2020/21 National Budget, will now resume meeting on June 29.
Reads the Speaker’s statement in part: “The Office of the Speaker of the National Assembly is informing all members of Parliament and stakeholders that the reconvening of the august House for the continuation of the 2020/21 Budget Meeting has been further shifted from Thursday, 25th June, 2020 to Monday, 29th June, 2020 at 2pm.
“This decision has been arrived at after appreciating the challenges members of Parliament may face if the House was to reconvene this Thursday as most of them are playing certain roles in their respective political parties in relation to the fresh presidential election held on Tuesday, 23rd June, 2020.”
Parliament announced the break to allow legislators to vote in Tuesday’s presidential election following nullification of the May 21 2019 presidential election results over irregularities, especially in the results management system.
Parliament is expected to reconvene for the plenary session after a week-long cluster meeting break where the members analysed the K2 trillion budget, which Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Development Joseph Mwananvekha presented on June 12 2020.
The House was supposed to pass the budget by June 30, the end of the government fiscal year.
Opposition spokespersons on Finance, Parliament’s Budget and Finance Committee chairperson and cluster committee chairpersons are expected to present their responses.
Last week, some commentators said it was illogical for government to present a national budget with a pending fresh presidential election that could change the whole political landscape if a different candidate other than the incumbent Peter Mutharika wins.
Both Chancellor College professor of economics Ben Kaluwa and political analyst Ernest Thindwa said government should have worked out a provisional budget until the election is over.