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#AfricaBrief: Quick Facts on the 2022/23 National Budget
The 2022/23 National Budget, presented by the newly-appointed Finance Minister Sosten Gwengwe, has been pegged at K2.8 trillion.
MALAWI: The 2022/23 National Budget, presented by the newly-appointed Finance Minister Sosten Gwengwe, has been pegged at K2.8 trillion.
This is an increase from the K1.9 trillion allocated for the 2021/22 national budget.
In the main, Gwengwe says the 2022/23 Budget will rely on the reduction of public debt, enabling import substitution while also enhancing export diversification.
The new Finance Minister says projections indicate that the overall budget deficit for the expiring 2021/22 fiscal year will be K825 billion, about 8 percent of the country’s GDP.
Describing the government’s current public debt level as "an elephant in the room" the youthful minister says a high level of external debt is a serious concern for the Tonse Alliance regime.
“Capital Hill will engage with some external creditors to restructure some of the loans with the government,” said Gwengwe.
As of June 2021, Malawi straddled on a whooping debt stock of K5.5 trillion, close to 54 percent of the country’s GDP.
Meanwhile, the country’s education sector gets a lion's share at K462.2 billion, seconded by the agriculture sector at K447 billion while the health sector, which has been hit hard due to Covid 19, gets K283.5 billion.
STEVE SHARRA, Education Expert: Some very rough, quick back-of-the-envelope maths: We have about half a million learners in ECD centres; 5 million primary school learners; 400,000 secondary school learners; 80,000 university students; 20,000 students in other tertiary/technical institutions. Totals about 6 million students, give and take (some are in private institutions). They must share K462 billion in the next fiscal year. That is, roughly, K77, 000 per student.
Obviously, they will not get equal amounts, as their requirements differ, but as an average figure, this is roughly how much we will invest per student in the next budget year.
Amid chants and ululations from the lawmakers, Gwengwe announced the doubling of the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) to K100 million from K40 million.
This is not all: Gwengwe also announced that the government has removed duty on solar lamps in the 2022/23 National Budget.
There’s also good news for tobacco farmers, as Gwengwe announced that the government has reduced the withholding tax on sales of tobacco bales at the auction market from 3 percent to 1 percent, as a final tax.
Gwengwe has also announced the removal of the controversial VAT on cooking oil and tap water.