The 2019/2020 Budget Session of parliament is scheduled to take place in September 2019 and not the usual June-July owing to the need to put in place new structures for the newly elected Members of Parliament (MPs).
Senior Assistant Clerk of Parliament, Joseph Manzi disclosed this Wednesday in Lilongwe during the on-going orientation of newly elected Members of Parliament.
He said it was important that Parliament through the yet to be set Business Committee of the House, first put in place committees that are mandated to scrutinize and provide guidance for the deliberations on the budget.
Manzi pointed out that, “The Business Committee will discuss and agree on specific dates that the House will meet to discuss the budget,”
He added that in order not to stifle government operations, Minister of Finance would bring before the house, a resolution seeking to authorize government to spend money for three months as the full budget is being discussed.
Through the interim Budget, Parliament passes a vote-on-account that allows the government to meet the expenses of the administration until Parliament considers and passes the Budget for the whole year.
In an interim Budget, the vote-on-account seeks parliament’s nod for incurring expenditure for part of a fiscal year. However, the estimates are presented for the entire year, as is the case with the regular Budget. However, government has full freedom to change the estimates completely when the final Budget is presented.
The first meeting of the 48th session of Parliament the for new cohort of MPs is expected to be opened by President Peter Mutharika on Friday, June 21, 2019 with the full sitting of Parliament scheduled to start on June 24, 2019.
The MPs have been meeting in Lilongwe from Monday getting themselves acquainted with procedures and workings of Parliament with resource persons coming from Parliament, the Judiciary, academia, international partners and others.
Swearing-In of the MPs will take place on Monday and Tuesday followed by the election of the Speaker and deputies on Wednesday.
On Monday, 63 MPs will be sworn in and Tuesday, the remaining 64 will be sworn in with only Blantyre City East Parliamentarian to be sworn in at a later date.