Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Expect a ‘good’ budget, Goodall’s was not one-man show –Finance Minister

By Nyasa Times Published: April 20, 2010

Malawians should expect a reasonable 2010/11 budget, which will focus on core sectors of the economy, Finance Minister Ken Kandodo has said.

"It will be a very good budget," Kandodo told Capital Radio Straight Talk programme on Tuesday evening.

"We want to invest in the Greenbelt initiative. We also want to continue in the investment in our road network. We will continue with poverty reduction projects," he said.

The finance minister has been holding the customary pre-budget consultations with different interest groups like captains of industry.

He has already met with several important functionaries to bolster his views about the budget to be presented in June in parliament.

"Ideally a minister of finance should consult every single Malawian but the practice is difficult to achieve; so first of all the minister of finance consults various stakeholder groups in the economy. What I did this year was to include on that list colleges, students and staffs from various colleges of our two public universities.

"Having gone through the areas that I went through to Mzuzu, Zomba, Blantyre and Lilongwe, I have had a fair view of what the public would like to see in the budget. Let's not forget that Members of Parliament will have a chance to discuss the budget, in fact we will have a debate of two to three weeks to discuss the budget. On assumption that MPs represent their constituents, I do expect that any member of the public who has a burning issue will meet their MP and raise the issues," he said.

Asked by presenter Brian Banda if he was fitting the shoes as overseer of the national kitty after replacing the superb economic engineer Goodall Gondwe, Kandodo said Gondwe's success should also be attributed to President Bingu wa Mutharika.

"There is no doubt that Hon Goodall Gondwe did a superb job as a minister of Finance from 2004 to 2009. But it is important to remember that government is not a one-man show….There is all machinery."

"For somebody to perform, he or she also must have a good backup. Let's not forget that the President, our President is also an economist and has been working in top job for many years. This office is also in interaction with the Office of President in major decisions."

"If we are saying that Hon. Gondwe did a good job, we are also in the same breath saying that the President should also be commended for the good economic performance he also gave direction to Hon Gondwe as he is also doing during my time."

"The State President in the way that civil service works, the President is involved in all major decisions. If we are saying the economy did well, it did well not just because of Hon Gondwe, he did a good job as minister of course, but also the economy performed because of their President because the President had a lot of input what happened in 2004 to 2009."

On the fuel and forex shortages which the country faced at the end of last year and towards the start of this year, Finance Minister attributed it to global recession.

"From 2008 to 2009 the world went through a very deep recession. In the process if you recall, the prices of fuel and prices of fertilizer shot up to unimaginable levels around 2008. So that did affect our import bill. As you know for our economy to move we rely on fertilizer which we import in huge quantity and also fuel.

"Because of the recession the demand for our exports decline, because of the recession in the exports markets, America, Europe wherever we send our exports to, the demand fell because people did not have enough money. It meant that the inflows that we receive for our exports were not as high as we had planned and therefore that did have some impact on availability of forex here at home. So it was a combination of several factors that came into play more less the same time."

The government purse keeper said the economic situation is now "under control".

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Source: Malawi news | NyasaTimes breaking online news source from Malaw


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