Govt’s Tough Ride In Parliament: Opposition Reject Additional Funds to Joyce Banda’s Office
Honeymoon is no longer the order of the day in President Joyce Banda’s side of parliament as the opposition is coming wave after wave demanding sanity from Finance Minister Ken Lipenga in the on going Mid year budget review exercise in parliament.
Few minutes ago, the opposition benches have just denied an increment to the revised vote to the Office of President and Cabinet.
Government wanted the funding to the office be increased from over Mk4billion to over Mk5billion, but the opposition said no arguing President Banda will abuse the funds on “her uncontrollable appetite for traveling”
Opposition parliamentarians took turn in giving out reasons why the funding to the president’s office should not be revised up wards.
Malawi Congress Party (MCP) chief whip Joseph Njobvuyalema wondered why the funds should be increased when the opposition side had already queried the “larger and unjustifiable allocation to the president’s office”.
“We passed that larger amount in the main budget for the sake of progress,” said Njobvuyalema.
However Lipenga explained that some of the additional funding to the president’s office is meant for the Presidential Initiative on Hunger.
But Nkhotakota Central Edwin Banda counter argued that it is senseless for Presidential Initiative on Hunger to be drawing public resources when President Joyce Banda does not grow maize to feed Malawians.
Said Banda: “Minister of Finance has cited hunger reduction initiative as a justification for the upping by Mk1 billion in the vote to the OPC. On this, I have a problem because the president does not grow maize to feed Malawians, which can warrant parliament to pass this vote.
“Or is this money meant for food distribution by the president? Or the newly adopted crop inspection tour? By the way why is the president inspecting the crops when she passed through the same maize on her way to distribute maize?”
In response, Finance Minister Ken Lipenga said the Presidential Initiative on Hunger is aimed at taming hunger, arguing it has nothing to d with President Banda’s maize distribution drive or crop inspection tour.