2018/19 fiscal programmes under scrutiny

Government’s move to introduce new programmes and maintain some of the existing ones has been put on the spotlight, with opposing views from some sectors of the economy.

In the 2018/19 National Budget, Finance, Economic Planning and Development Minister Goodall Gondwe announced plans to include ambitious youth programmes that are primarily intended to reduce youth unemployment and capacity building for civil servants.

Gondwe reading the 2018/19 budget statement in Parliament

Gondwe set aside K4.8 billion for the youth internship programme which is expected to recruit 5 000 youths aged between 18 and 30 years. This is aside from the K5 billion which has been allocated for tree planting and care programme and is expected to employ 10 000 youths.

Youths in the civil service have also received consideration in the Scholarship Fund Programme entrusted with financing for further training up to PhD level courses to the tune of K2 billion.

But in a written response to a questionnaire, International Monetary Fund (IMF) resident representative Jack Ree said the programmes could be a curse or a blessing depending on how they are going to be run.

“I personally appreciate new programmes dedicated to youths. Given the population dynamics in this country, we need to seriously think about what the country can do for the future of this young and growing population. What we do now will define Malawi’s destiny. The key, however, is to run this programme properly,” he said.

However, Economics Association of Malawi (Ecama) president Chikumbutso Kalilombe however said there is need for reprioritisation, urged government to consider directing more resources to development expenditure as opposed to social and consumption expenditure.

“This would assist government and create more fiscal space as per current resource envelope,” he said.

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