Committee against fiscal wastage, corruption

Budget and Finance Committee of Parliament has asked Treasury to ensure that the 2019/20 National Budget is people-centred with no room for wastage, corruption, misprocurement and private sector arrears.

The committee’s chairperson Sosten Gwengwe said in an interview on Tuesday because of the challenges, citizens do not fully benefit from the budget.

Gwengwe: There is a
huge drain

The remarks follow last week’s 2019/20 budget meeting between the committee and Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Development Joseph Mwanamvekha to share notes on how best fiscal plan can be framed to benefit the citizenry.

Said Gwengwe: “There is a huge drain in misprocurement and corruption but without tangible action to reverse the trend. We want the minister to look at creative ways of dealing with chronic problems of our budget in terms of rampant waste on contract awards.

“We will be looking forward to see creative ways of dealing with debt, corruption, procurement processes and most importantly we want to see a budget which at the end can uplift the poor to self sustenance. We want a people-centred budget that will have a visible impact on Malawians.”

He said the budget committee wants to be involved in budget processes much earlier than just at the end of the whole process.

Gwengwe said the committee is also looking forward to seeing government moving fast in the implementation of the new Integrated Financial Management Information System (Ifmis) that will help address wastage.

Ministry of Finance, Economic Planning and Development spokesperson Davies Sado described the recommendations  from the committee as valuable ahead of budget presentation in Parliament this month.

He said Treasury regards the committee as a crucial stakeholder in terms of budget issues as it represents the people.

“We agree with most of the suggestions and we are looking at how the suggestions can fit into the budget.

“We agree with the committee that the budget should be people-centred, that wastage should be reduced,” said Sado.

He agreed with Gwengwe that the public sector arrears are ballooning due to lack of adherence to contractual and payment agreements.

Treasury’s meeting with the committee last week marked the finalisation of the 2019/20 pre-budget consultation meetings as the budget meeting is scheduled to start next week in Lilongwe.

The consultations came after Parliament in June passed a four-month provisional budget.

The consultations happened amid mixed fortunes in the economy such as the rising public debt and a mismatch between the fiscal and monetary policy.

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