Commentators describe budget as mere rhetoric

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Political commentators and the opposition are punching holes in the proposed 2019/2020 national budget describing it as mere rhetoric.

Finance Minister Joseph Mwanamveka has proposed a K1.7 trillion budget with an increase of three trillion kwacha from last year’s K1.4 trillion.

Among others, this year’s financial plan has increased the Pay as You Earn (PAYE) tax bracket from K35,000 to K45,000 . 

Other key highlights include an allocation K8 billion for job creation, K9 billion for the loans and grants board 10 to 15 percent increase on civil servant’s salaries and 10,000 houses for all security agents.

The education, agriculture and health sectors get the lion’s share of K178.8 billion, 167 billion and K101 billion respectively.

The deficit has been contracted from around K300 billion to K150 billion but the Economics Association of Malawi (ECAMA) indicates that it hoped for a budget without a shortfall.

On the other hand, the Consumers Association of Malawi (CAMA) is calling for further increment of the minimum wage to around K70,000 stressing that the revised amount from K35,000 to K45,000 is still inadequate to suffice for the high cost of living.

Commenting on the issue, Malawi Congress Party Secretary General, Eisenhower Mkaka stresses that the proposed national budget is far from benefiting Malawians.

Meanwhile the Higher Education Students’ Loans and Grants Board reveals that the projected K9 billion is still not enough to carter for the huge number of needy students. Speaking to Capital FM, the boards Executive Director, Chris Chisoni indicates that they were hoping for something around K12.5 billion.

This according to Chisoni would aid at least 21,000 students as the proposed amount would only accommodate about 17,000 beneficiaries.


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