Written by YAMIKANI SIMUTOWE
BLANTYRE—Members of Parliament have proposed that the 44th Parliament meeting should be extended at least by one more week to allow them to contribute to the Committee of Supply by scrutinizing changes made to the budget vote by vote.
Finance Minister Ken Lipenga announced Thursday that government has withdrawn the revised 2012/2013 budget which was presented in the House due to recent developments including civil servants’ pay rise.
Lipenga said MPs will not scrutinize changes made to the budget as expected by the lawmakers. He proposed an increase of the 2012/2013 budget from K408 billion to K475 billion.
But this didn't go down well with most lawmakers who insisted that the House should go to the Committee of Supply for MPs to scrutinize it vote by vote.
“For many years, this is the first time in the history of Malawi to have no committee of supply in the midterm budget review.
“I would like to submit to this House that the honorable minister reverse his decision and move vote by vote. We would like to know how much government is going to spend between now and June,” said Vitus Dzoole Mwale, MP for Lilongwe Msozi South.
Most MPs expressed surprise at the government’s decision. However Leader of the House Henry Duncan Phoya said if it becomes necessary to allow the House move to Committee of Supply stage, the sitting would be extended by one more week to allow MPs to go through the changes in the proposed budget.
“MPs insist that the House should go to Committee of Supply stage. We know that it is very important to all Malawians and the national at large; therefore if it becomes necessary to allow them contribute to changes then the sitting would be extended,” said Phoya on Friday.
Meanwhile, Lipenga has since rescinded his decision and is expected to present the midterm budget either on Tuesday or Wednesday. He also feared that the extension would require more resources to meet MPs’ sitting allowances.
(c) The Maravi Post 2013