By Manasse Nyirenda
Lilongwe, June 30, Mana: New Minister of Finance, Felix Mlusu has announced that 3.5 million smallholder farmers will benefit from the new government subsidized fertilizer programme in the 2020 to 2021 financial year.
He made the announcement when he presented a provisional budget totaling K722.4billion which parliament subsequently adopted to fund government operations from July to October, 2020.
He said each farmer would be able allowed to buy at least two bags of fertilizers at K4,495.00 per bag in the 2020 to 2021 financial year.
Asked on how the government would be able to fund the fertilizer subsidy in midst of dwindling revenue collection, the Minister said government would prioritize the subsidy because it would benefit many Malawians.
“We are making some savings and obviously, we are going to move some funds from non priority areas to fund that because obviously the fertilizers and all the farm inputs; that is a priority because it affects the majority of the people that we want to carter for.
“And all the savings we make are going to go towards the cost of fertilizer,” he hinted.
Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Spokesperson on Finance, Joseph Mwanamvekha said although a provisional budget does not carry too many details he was looking forward to the new government fulfilling the promises it made to Malawians during the campaign period.
He said he was optimistic that the new Minister of Finance whom he described as a balanced person would keep his word having worked with him in the private sector.
The other highlights in the budget include the increasing of the tax free band from K45, 000 to K 100,000 and the revision of minimum wage from K35,000.00 a month to K50,000.