Vice-President Joyce Banda has said the zero-deficit budget is impossible if people do not have income that the government can tax.
Banda said this at Chenda Hotel in Mzuzu on Tuesday when she launched her PeopleÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Party (PP) Northern Region Chapter of Orange Achievers where she also noted that money is circulating in few hands in the country.
But government spokesperson Patricia Kaliati dismissed BandaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s claims, saying it is unfortunate that the Vice-President is criticising government after forming PP.
Banda said there is need for government to take the private sector, especially small medium enterprises (SMEs) seriously if the country is to develop.
She bemoaned institutions such as Development of Malawian Enterprises Trust (Demat) and Small Enterprises Development Organisation of Malawi (Sedom), which supported SMEs, but are now defunct.
The VP said the zero-deficit budget cannot work because there is no money in circulation in MalawiÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s economy.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“There has to be political freedom for there to be economic freedom since the two are complementary. Without these, the people will not have money as they cannot do business and in turn government cannot collect taxes,Ã¢â‚¬Â she said.
Asked in a separate interview on how she would tackle the current economic crisis, Banda said: Ã¢â‚¬Å“What we are going through is self-inflicted. We were told there would be dire consequences if we deported the British envoy and we went against advice. We must correct our past mistakes first, but the situation may take two or three years to normalise,Ã¢â‚¬Â she said.
Kaliati, however, said it is wrong for Banda to start attacking government now.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“She was once Minister of Women and Gender and she was also Minister of Foreign Affairs; what did she do to address the issues at that time?Ã¢â‚¬Â Kaliati said.