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Malawi Economic Justice Network - Comments on the proposed Malawi Budget 2001-2002

4. Non-poverty Reducing Expenditures
Non Poverty Reducing Expenditures 2000/01 Approved 2000/01 Revised 2001/02 Estimate 2001/02 Adjusted for Inflation Increase or Decrease Adjusted for Inflation
Office of the President and Cabinet 545,007,080 1,670,450,697 696,087,913 530,150,733 -3%
State Residences 174,471,176 629,652,165 306,878,991 233,723,527 +33%
National Intelligence Bureau N/A N/A 94,177,035 N/A N/A
Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation 680,492,901 1,323,656,114 821,609,475 625,749,791 -8%
Special Activities 4,540,322,558 696,257,179 3,644,728,125 2,775,878,236 -39%
Refunds and Repayments 30,000,000 39,000,000 2,658,725,600 2,024,924,295 +6650%
Public Debt Charges 8,008,000,000 5,557,461,413 6,570,900,000 5,004,493,526 -37.5%
There are a number of proposed Government expenditures in this table are serious causes for concern.
State Residences
This budget line covers five houses, and was 260% over budget last year. At a proposed 234 million, it is only 30 million less than what is being spent on the National Assembly, and is more than the ACB, Ombudsman, Auditor General, Human Rights Commission put together. It is also set to increase by 33% this year. It is hard to see how this expense can be justified by a Government commited to poverty reduction.
Refunds and Repayments
This budget line is in statutory expenditures and represents a staggering 6650% inrease on last year. The total figure is 2 billion MK, more than the Ministry of Agriculture. The budget documents break it down as follows:
Apex MK 300,000,000
SECUCOM MK 528,000,000
Land Rovers MK 168,000,000
MPs' Vehicles MK 72,000,000
TATAs MK 939,000,000
ADMARC Overdraft MK 1,000,000
General Compensation MK 650,725,600
This list reveals that the Government is proposing to spend as much this year on rectifying previous financial scandals as it will on Agriculture. At the same time the level of expenditure going to the kinds of accountability agencies that should detect these frauds is still minimal, and the transparency required to prevent them happening again is yet to be found in the budget.
Special Activities
The budget line for special activities (2.7 billion MK) again exceeds that for Agriculture, yet the budget documents given no information as to what these 'special activities' are likely to be. This is not good enough, and Government should give details on exactly what is contained under 'special activities' and why it cannot be transparently included in other budgets.

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