Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Development Joseph Mwanamvekha yesterday said he will present the provisional budget in Parliament this Friday.
Speaking in an interview in Lilongwe, the minister said the provisional budget, as provided for in the Constitution, has a maximum timeframe of four months, giving room for government to prepare a full budget.
He said before September this year, the nation should have the full fiscal plan in place to ensure all aspects of development are implemented as per government design.
Said Mwanamvekha: “The provisional budget provides basic information that includes statutory expenses such as salaries, pensions and gratuities. We also only budget for on-going projects and the payments that we make on quarterly projects. We do not cover, for instance, issues of development projects and all that.
“Before the end of September, we need to have a full budget to be approved by Parliament and passed and the provisional budget of four months will form part of the full national budget.”
He said the provisional budget has been necessitated by the late constitution of the Cabinet, which President Peter Mutharika appointed on June 19.
Ecama executive director Maleka Thula said in an interview yesterday the association is worried that Malawi’s public debt has reached alarming levels.
Public debt, which comprises domestic and external debt, stood at around K3.3 trillion as of December 2018– twice the country’s 2018/19 revised national budget of K1.4 trillion and an estimated 72 percent of the country’s total wealth as measured by nominal gross domestic product (GDP).
“Public debt has been increasing substantially over the past years and has reached unprecedented levels. For instance, domestic debt has hit the 20 percent of GDP threshold and is worrying. This is because we continue to implement perpetual-deficit budgets,” he said.
Earlier, Ministry of Finance, Economic Planning and Development spokesperson Davie Sado said government already conducted a ‘tax shopping exercise’ which involves listening to the business community while soliciting their input into the budget.
Commenting on the uncertainty surrounding pre-budget consultations where the ministry solicits input from various stakeholders and the general public at large, Sado said conducting such consultations would be a prerogative of the new Finance Minister.