LILONGWE-(MaraviPost)- Malawi’s education rights body, Civil Society Education Coalition (CSEC), this week engaged the Ministry of Finance on tax justice measures wherein revenues collected is channeled to appropriate social sectors, including education.
CSEC engagement with the Treasury is part of the global campaign in which the organization, the Africa Network Campaign for All (ANCEFA) and Action Aid International, are advocating to African leaders to make commitment for quality education enhancement.
The Global Campaign for Education (GCE), with its cooperating partners recently launched the “Call to Action” for increased and sustainable financing to achieve Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) Four campaign.
The campaign intends to remind world leaders and governments to keep the promise to allocate 20% of the national budget to the education sector in developing countries.
The initiative also advocates for tax justice; in this scenario, the call is for Government earnings (through tax revenues), must be properly used in crucial sectors for the wellbeing of local people; such wellbeing includes the education, health, water and sanitation sectors.
Despite the education sector yearly allocation of the lion’s share of Malawi’s national budget, the sector continually grapples with numerous challenges; among these being pupil-teacher ratio, poor infrastructure, and delayed teachers’ salaries.
This is the reason CSEC with its partners, engaged the Treasury to revisit its commitment towards tax justice measures for quality education sector financing.
“Malawi’s national budget favors the education sector a lot, but the area still faces numerous challenges, which need to be considered with a critical eye for improvement. We want tax measures in collecting revenues to bring serious investments in education.
“When we talk about tax justice, it is when Government properly uses revenues from the public to finance social programs including education. This encourages people to pay more tax as they value their money in proper usage. Let our leaders invest seriously in education as it holds every nation’s future,” urges Lucky Mbewe, CSEC’s Board Vice Chairpeson.
In his response, Secretary to the Treasury, Ben Botolo, acknowledged that there are gaps in quality education, he nonetheless blamed Malawi’s population growth, which is surpassing public finance expenditures.
Botolo observed that increased fertility rate contributes to population booming, which in turn puts pressure on already minuscule resources.
The Treasury Secretary however, assured the public that Government will make use of revenue collected from the public and make proper use of it.
“Malawians must now revisit their reproduction and consider how many children a family needs to have. The nation needs to have laws to regulate child bearing to at least three per family. This will contain the pressure of population growth.
“The Treasury is therefore committed to provide quality services that must tally with the value for money, which people pay through tax. We will make sure that any penny is accounted for. The education sector will always be Government’s priority number one,” assures Botolo.
In this year’s national budget, the Parliament approved an allocation of 18 percent for the education sector, but teachers’ living conditions, and infrastructures remain poor with students in public schools receiving instruction under trees.
The recent UNESCO Global Education Monitoring Report (GEMR) policy paper, shows that education’s share in total aid declined for six consecutive years.
The report disclosed that aid to education from world’s richest nations dropped from 10% in 2009 to 6.9% in 2015.
The GEMR study has therefore indicated that while developing country partners in Africa made great pledges during the 2014 replenishment, most have not translated the pledges into actual budgets.