The Malawi Economic Justice Network (MEJN) has warned Members of Parliament (MPs) against the rubberstamping of the proposed 2021/22 national budget, emphasizing that the programmes and figures therein should be reflective of the social economic aspirations of all Malawians.
MEJN board chairperson Bishop Dr. Martin Mtumbuka sounded the warning during an engagement with MPs on the 2021/22 national budget analysis. With funding from DANISH CHURCH AID (DCA)/NORWEGIAN CHURCH AID (NCA), a Joint Country Programme (JCP), MEJN conducted analysis aimed at assessing the budget’s level of contributing to fighting social and economic inequalities, and establishing the budget’s alignment to the Malawi Growth Development Strategy. In his opening remarks at the first leg of the meeting, Bishop Mtumbuka emphasized being the first budget to finance Malawi’s new development agenda of Malawi 2063, it is important that the resources allocated for various government ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) should work towards reducing inequalities between the rich and the poor.
“The 2021/22 national budget is unique because it will be implemented in nine months as the country shifts its fiscal year from the traditional 1st July to 30th June to the new and proposed calendar, which will be starting on 1st April through 31st March. Looking at the three key factors on which this budget is premised, we can all agree that the expectations out there are very high from this budget,” he said.
Bishop Mtumbuka who also heads the Karonga Diocese of the Roman Catholic Church assured that MEJN shall pay particular attention to ensuring that good economic governance it champions has a practical and significant positive impact on the quality of the life for rural communities who form the bulk of the poorest and most vulnerable citizens of Malawi.
Head of Programmes at NCA/DCA Joint Country Programme, Paul Mmanjamwada, disclosed that despite combined efforts between the government and also its development partners to improve socioeconomic livelihoods of Malawians, majority of citizens continue living in abject poverty. Mmanjamwada said escalating numbers of the people living below the poverty line are a shocking inequality revelation to Malawi.
“The Vision 2020 just expired last year and there is still overwhelming evidence of the persisting levels of various forms of inequalities in our Malawian society which can be addressed by ensuring that budget allocations are aligned with peoples needs and inequality gap is been minimized with a cooperative effort” Mmanjamwada concludes.
The engagement meeting with parliamentarians was conducted under the “FIGHTING SOCIAL and ECONOMIC INEQUALITIES ” project, which is designed to support strengthening civil society actors and space to contribute to an equal, respectful, and inclusive society that allows women, men, girls, and boys to live healthy, dignified lives and claim their rights. The project which mainly focus on the health, education, mining, and social security programs, was developed due to shocking, prevailing, and multifaceted inequalities gap in Malawi.
Written By: Watipaso Mzungu & Compiled by: Chimwemwe Songelani