Budgetary allocations to the Malawi Police Service (MPS) and the Malawi Defence Forces (MDF) have been revised upward, and the two are among top beneficiaries in the revised mid-term budget Review.
That is besides the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC), which the review has also favoured in view of the impending fresh presidential elections as ordered by the Constitutional Court.
But analysts have backed the allocation to security institutions, saying the current volatile political situation require investment in the security sector for purposes of the economy. They add that lack of adjustment in the Vice-President’s office vote is not surprising as “it is about politics gone wrong”.
MPS received an increase of about 41 percent as its allocation has moved from K54 billion to about K76 billion while MDF has an increase of 24 percent, with current allocation of K61.5 billion from K48.8 billion.
The increase to MPS and MDF, by percentage, beat revised allocations to key sectors that usually get a lion’s share of the National Budget such as Education, at 10 percent; Agriculture, at 10 percent and Health, at 5 percent.
The Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) has the highest jump in allocation of about over 600 percent because of the fresh election budget. MEC had about K4.5 billion allocated and the figure has come to K34 billion following an addition of K29 billion meant for fresh presidential elections.
In his presentation to Parliament on Friday, Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Development Joseph Mwanamvekha, while indicating that there was an increase in allocation to the security sector, he could not explain what the increased funding will do. He said the increase in the revised budget was due to security-related expenditure, among other reasons, which include fresh elections.
“On the expenditure side, Madam Speaker, Honourable members will not that total expenditure has been revised upwards…due to the increase in wages and salaries, and security-related,” said Mwanamvekha.
Acting executive director for the Economists Associations of Malawi (Ecama) Kettie Nyasulu said a huge allocation to security institutions was expected given the political situation in the country.
She said the political events after the disputed May 21 2019 presidential elections, which included demonstrations, affected the economy hence the need to invest in peace and security to protect the economy from further damage. to UTM leader Saulos Chilima, following the ConCourt ruling, had no increase on its budget, yet both State Residences and the Office of the President and Cabinet had about K390 million and K900 million added to their budgets respectively. President, which has reverted
Policy analyst and political commentator Rafik Hajat said it is not surprising that there is no increase in the Office of the Vice-President.
“It would have been a surprise if the opposite happened. We all know the answer—the reinstatement of the current Vice-President [Saulos Chilima] could be a reason the office has not benefited. But I have no problem with increased allocations to Police and MDF. I think it is because of the times we are in. We need improved security,” argued Hajat who also expressed shock that the newly created ministry responsible for Disaster Management and Public Events has no allocation.
“How will it operate without funding? Will it be drawing funds from other ministries? How and why?” he queried.
While Capital Hill seems to have increased funding to key governance institutions, some have been ignored even when their role in the current political environment is key.
The Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) has received an extra K500 million, which represents about 14 percent increase, while the office of the Director of Public Prosecution has only be given K44.6 million extra—about 3.4 percent rise.
The Office of the Ombudsman, which has been causing sleepless nights to misbehaving public officers, has been allocated K277 million more, while the Legal Aid Bureau, received an extra of about K167 million.
There is no extra funding for the Malawi Human Rights Commission, Office of the Public Officers Declaration and the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs.
But, both the Judiciary and Parliament have a reason to smile as their allocations have also been adjusted upward—Judiciary has K2 billion extra while Parliament has had an additional K3 billion.