Leader of Opposition in Parliament Lazarus Chakwera has described the resumption of budget support by the World Bank as an act of mercy.
He has since urged President Peter Mutharika’s administration not to abuse the funding.
Chakwera’s sentiments were echoed by People’s Party interim leader Uladi Mussa and Alliance for Democracy leader in Parliament Enock Chihana.
In their quick responses to the State of the Nation Address (Sona) delivered by President Mutharika at the opening of the Sixth Meeting in the 46th Session of Parliament and the 2017/18 Budget Meeting in Lilongwe yesterday, the leaders said World Bank’s $80 billion (about K60 billion) general budget support was in no way a vote of confidence for the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP)-led government.
“Although the World Bank has shown a good gesture to support the budget, this is not a sign that the government is doing well on fiscal disciple.
“There are still a lot of loopholes in government and Cashgate is still taking place on President Mutharika’s watch,” said Chakwera.
The Malawi Congress Party (MCP) president cited former Agriculture Minister George Chaponda’s alleged involvement in the importation of maize from Zambia as an example that corruption is still rife in government.
“The truth is we are not disciplined in as far as abuse of resources is concerned. What the World Bank has done is an act of a mercy, we cannot afford to abuse public funds this time around,” said Chakwera
He described the President’s speech as ‘a copy-and-paste’ statement.
“The President has been saying what he said today since 2014 when he came into power. The statement was not a true reflection of what is currently on the ground,” he said, citing the Phalombe District Hospital and the Zomba-Jali Road as pet projects which the DPP has been using as campaign tools.
The MCP leader said he was disappointed that the President omitted electoral reforms in his one hour and 20 minutes speech. He described the omission as a ‘clear indication that the DPP government does not want any reforms at the Malawi Electoral Commission [MEC]’.
On his part, Mussa said the President’s statement lacked explanation of important projects government has done since the passing of the 2016/17 National Budget last year.
“I expected that the President would have made a mention of projects that various ministries implemented and how they have benefited the poor rural people,” he noted.
Chihana did not mince words by saying people from the North would like to know why the DPP-led government has decided to backtrack on its promise to construct Mombera University in Mzimba District.