The query by the Civil Society Education Coalition (Csec) about the increased allocation to the office of the Minister of Education, Science and Technology by over 800 percent is justified, so, too, is Csec’s request for an explanation for the increase in the allocation to State Residences and President’s local travel.
Besides, the discovery by the Malawi Health Equity Network (Mhen) that the budget for office of the Minister of Health has also been increased by over 800 percent—from K3 million to K28 million—exposes a worrisome pattern that also require to be explained and justified.
The irony of it all is that these allocations are by far not in tandem with the austerity measures government says is pursuing to put the country’s economy back on track.
As Csec rightly says, the increases raise questions which must be explained to Malawians.
Actually, the current sitting of Parliament is the right forum the justification for these increases must be made.
It is in this vein that we urge parliamentarians currently debating the 2013-14 National Budget to rise above partisan politics.
In the absence of case by case justifications and given that this is an electoral year budget, one would be tempted to speculate that this is a ploy by government to financially empower and prepare the ministers for the tripartite elections which will take place within a year being budgeted for.
Similar speculations are already making rounds over the unexplained jump in the allocation for the President’s local travel, which has been increased from K15 billion to K33 billion.
We believe a billion kwacha is enough to build a modern health facility, primary or even a secondary school which could benefit Malawians more than the President’s travels.
But the bottom line is that Malawians deserve an explanation from government on these obscene budgetary allocations that will obviously deny them improved life and the onus is on the MPs to join hands with Csec in seeking those explanations.