Blantyre, The Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Development, Joseph Mwanamvekha says he expects the 2019/20 national budget to be presented in parliament in September to be pro-poor and one which promotes domestic and foreign direct investors in the country.
Mwanamvekha was speaking in Blantyre on Friday during the last leg of the pre-budget consultative meetings after he successfully conducted the same in Lilongwe and Mzuzu cities with different stakeholders.
He said the budget would highly benefit Malawians and at the same time provide an enabling environment for both local and foreign business captains to spur socio-economic growth.
Above all these, the 2019/20 Budget will focus much on financial prudence and discipline. We have put strict measures to achieve all this; like dealing with inflation, monitoring tax compliance, improving domestic tax collection and ensuring that all government arms are audited.
We would like to ensure that government money is being used for the intended purpose. One of the places where money is being misused is at district council level. Yes, decentralization is good but then there is a lot of fraud taking place, Mwanamvekha said.
He said once the 2019/20 budget is passed, government would put strict measures in all government ministries, departments and agencies in areas such as procurement, contracts, among others, noting that poor financial management contributes to government’s over expenditure.
In all the places I have been conducting consultative meetings, economists and stakeholders have asked government to cut value added tax (VAT) on bread and utilities such as piped water and electricity. This will be looked into including other areas, he said.
Mwanamvekha said stakeholders have provided important input to the budget, saying he is planning to have specific discussions with a few stakeholders on what should be included or excluded in the coming budget.
Institute for Chartered Accountants in Malawi (ICAM) Chief Executive Officer, Francis Gondwe proposed that government should increase free tax band to K100, 000 so that people should have more disposable income.
Gondwe said there is also need for government to establish tax tribunal that can quickly solve tax related disputes, noting that at present the process takes too long to have grievances resolved.
During the meeting, several stakeholders including ICAM, Catholic University, Institute of Internal Auditors in Malawi and Malawi Confederation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry made presentations.
Source: MANA Online