- Mr. Speaker, Sir, let me express my sincere gratitude to all those who contributed so selflessly in compiling the Budget and the Budget Statement, in particular,
- His Excellency the President, Dr. Bakili Muluzi, for his wise leadership and counsel in the course of preparing the Budget;
- The Vice President, the Right Honourable Justin Malewezi, as well as my Cabinet colleagues for their support and constructive inputs throughout the entire Budget process;
- All our development partners for the technical and financial support to Malawi in implementing her economic and development programme;
- Men and women in the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning for their hard work, commitment and dedication to duty in preparing the Budget and the Budget Statement;
- The National Economic Council and the Reserve Bank of Malawi who are part of the economic management team; and lastly;
- All various stakeholders in the Private Sector, Civil Society, non-Governmental organisations, Government and academic staff who provided their input to the Budget during the Pre-Budget and MPRSP consultation meetings.
- Mr Speaker, Sir, in concluding the presentation of the 2002/2003 Budget Statement, I have the honour to assure this August House and the people of Malawi that the Budget I have presented today indeed reflects our determination to fight poverty and stimulate growth for a better Malawi, and in particular, our determination to ensure that we do all this within the available financial resources. The Budget also recognises our major task of bringing the economy back on track. This is our major priority within the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning.
- Mr Speaker, Sir, in this Budget Statement I have emphasised the need for prudent public financial management and the need to control public expenditure with the view to containing inflation and ultimately lowering interest rates. Meanwhile, the Government wishes to maintain dialogue with the private sector which needs to be nurtured within the current environment. Further, emphasis has been given on the need for parastatals to carry their own weight and improve financial management.
- Mr Speaker, Sir, Malawi finds itself in the midst of a profound transformation that calls for a change in the way we do business, a change in our mindsets. This paradigm shift is a development imperative in todayвЂ™s world, where the need for leaders to listen to the voice of the people has been clearly established. Since Government is asking the people to make sacrifices, there must be a fair and equitable burden sharing such that any strategy of poverty reduction must include the poor themselves in designing the solutions to the problem. This paradigm shift, Mr. Speaker Sir, is needed if we are to restore pride and dignity, to lift the burden of poverty, to reverse the economic stagnation and transform our country to a point where all Malawians can have a decent standard of living.
- Mr Speaker, Sir, let us remember the theme of our budget statement today, вЂњliving within our means and facing our realitiesвЂќ. We cannot consume what we do not have nor can we have what we do not own. As a country, should we choose to leave lavishly beyond our means, we should then prepare ourselves for the consequences. As Malawians, let us start planning our destiny today. It is said that the ending is everything. We have to plan all the way to it, taking into account all the possible consequences, obstacles and twists of fortune that might reverse results of our hard work. By planning to the end we might not be overwhelmed by unforgiving circumstances. Quoting the bible, Mr. Speaker, Sir:
вЂњLoyal love and stability are for those who plan well. In all toil there is profit, but mere talk leads only to wantвЂќ (Proverbs 14: 22-23).
- I thank you for your attention. May God bless you all and bless Malawi.
- Mr. Speaker, Sir, Honourable Members, I beg to move.