Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, Joseph Mwanamveka, on Friday, unveiled 2020/2021 national budget pegged at K2.2 trillion which experts have termed as a consumption and ambitious package.
According to the budget, the expenditure estimates have moved up from K1.48 trillion in the previous physical year representing a 9% adjustment.
Mwanamveka said the budget is likely to have a deficit of K651 billion which the country will have to borrow.
He said the deficit is as a result of increased expenditure on security due to post-election demonstrations, forthcoming fresh presidential election and COVID-19 pandemic.
Just like previous budgets, the education sector has again received a lion’s share of K387 billion followed by the healthy sector with K195 billion.
Ministry of Agriculture is ranked third and has been allocated K194 billion.
For the first time the budget has seen paramount chiefs and religious institutions being allowed to purchase one duty free vehicle every five years and in addition, government has also introduced medical insurance scheme for chiefs ranging from Sub Traditional Authorities (T/A) and above with effect from July 1, 2020.
Funds for the Farm Input Subsidy Program (FISP) have been increased from K35 billion to K38 billion to benefit 1 million farmers.
The fourth coming presidential election has been appropriated with K29 billion.
Reacting to the budget, chairperson for the budget committee of parliament, Sosten Gwengwe, described the financial blueprint as a campaign oriented which aims at just pleasing people and has expressed worry that it has centered on consumption with very little on development.
And on his part Professor Betchani Tchereni, who is a Polytechnic Economics Lecturer, says it is going to be hard to fund the K2.2 trillion budget considering the anticipated K651 billion deficit.
Meanwhile the finance Minister has dismissed the all the sentiments saying the budget intends to uplift lives of Malawians.