LILONGWE—Malawians are licking their chops as the new government of Pres Joyce Banda prepares a new budget that’s expected to do away with the current budget which has heavy taxes.
The new budget will be presented when parliament reconvenes May 18.
Gerald Ntchafu, a small scale businessman, says a lack of foreign exchange (forex) has hurt his business and he doesn’t know what he will do next if the situation doesn’t improve.
He has heard of efforts by the Banda administration to court donors who cut off their financial assistance to the country over concerns about economic mismanagement and rights violations by the former regime of the late president Bingu wa Mutharika.
A lack of forex due to inadequate receipts from top forex earner tobacco and donors freezing aid, prevented the southern African country from importing enough fuel and prices of basic needs have gone up.
Ntchafu, who has a family to take care, told MaraPost he trusts the government will do the right thing to ease the suffering of millions of Malawians.
It’s not only ordinary people who want a fresh start.
"The zero deficit budget (ZDB) created a huge burden on the people,” said main opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP) lawmaker Joseph Njobvuyalema. “We were against it and we hope the new administration will consider that."
When the ZDB was introduced, all the opposition (57 MPs) could do was speak and, of course, vote against it as the then ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) party with its 136 MPs was unwilling to compromise on anything. Observers said it was this strength which the party abused by enacting controversial laws to strengthen its grip on power.
Outspoken DPP lawmaker, Bauleni Manna (Dowa East), declared on Wednesday: “We are past being dictated to by the party!”
This time around, hopes Manna, the party “will listen to the voices of Malawians.”
Maravi People’s Party leader Uladi Mussa said the country needs "lower taxes, removal of bad laws and restoration of our system of democracy where all branches of government would be functional and independent."
The governing People’s Party only has three members of its own in the House and it will need the support of others so it could move its agenda. Manna is among scores of DPP MPs who intend to provide that support.
This report would be incomplete without hearing from the DPP which lost the executive branch of government following the death of Pres Mutharika on April 5 after suffering a heart attack.
"It’s too early to say what we will do but as a party we look forward to the budget,” said Leader of the House and education minister George Chaponda.
---©2012 The Maravi Post. Reproduction authorised, with usual acknowledgment