Finance Ministry drills journalists in budget process

The media has an important role in providing information to the general public on various many issues of government such as its policy objectives, strategies and performance.

The Ministry of Finance in Malawi organised a day-long national budget process orientation for business journalists on Friday, and here's part of what Levi Chores, the Deputy Budget Director, said during the opening of the event in Salima.

The Cordinator, ABJ 

Director of Specialised Audit, National Audit Office,

Director of Ceremony, Mr. William Banda

Colleagues from Ministry of Finance,

Ladies and gentlemen

I begin by extending my warm welcome and profound gratitude to you all for availing yourselves to this important session on National Budgeting.

I would like to appreciate the interest that Association of Business Journalists have shown by initiating this orientation session, so we interact on issues, fiscal, with experts from the Ministry of Finance.   We commend you for this effort. 

We are aware that stories of fiscal issues are the kind of stories that media houses would rather leave to economists, specialized experts, academics and even some NGOs because of their complexity and their not being "sexy" stories.

As such, journalists tend to shun on issues of research on fiscal transparency and accountability. 

We know and have observed that journalists usually cover bits and pieces of fiscal issues and rarely covers the whole picture.

Thus such stories about corruption and other sorts of white collar crime only touch a small aspect of fiscal accountability and transparency, obviously because there is a market for that line of reportinThe interest that you have shown for this session underscores the importance that you as business journalist attach to the need for efficient report on fiscal transparency and accountability.

It reflects you keen interest to see the country develop and move forward toward prosperity.

It is a fact that media has an important role in providing information to the general public on various many issues of government such as its policy objectives, strategies and performance.

The National Budget is the tool that Government uses to implement its policies and strategies.

It is therefore of paramount importance that the media is able to provide the general public with right information concerning such strategies and policies and how they are fairing.

In that regard, this session will seek to provide an understanding of how things are done in Government budgeting for purposes of accountability and transparency so as to minimize the consequences that come with lack of it  such as financial mismanagement, corruption, austerity and other ills.

So in this session, we have aimed at providing you participants with some understanding on the national Budget. Officials from the MInistry of FInance will take you through the budget process.

They will provide insights on the estimation of Government revenues as well as aspects of development partners contribution, the government expenditure both the recurrent and development and government debt management.

In addition, the role of audit in the budget process will be presented by Office of the Auditor General.

Let me point out that the issues of budgeting or fiscal management are many and of great interest, as such, we expect that this interaction is the first of many to come. This session is important and as said before, the Ministry of Finance really appreciates.  To that effect, let me take this opportunity to thank UNICEF for providing logistical support.

Going forward, we know many development partners are very much interested in such sessions and would provide both financial and technical support in future. The Ministry will also seek to include this in its annual work plans.

Finally, let me congratulate those of you who do research and write articles on fiscal and monetary issues for the good work that you do. Your articles are very informative, educative and also keeps people responsible and in positions on guard. Please keep up, keep it up. You know well that poverty has a face, actually millions of faces, that have millions of stories behind them. So let the stories flow, be it emotional, personal with winners, losers, fighters, heroes and victims because they serve. Thus issues of fiscal transparency, accountability, participation in government budgeting are crucial for these millions of reasons.

Let me also wish you a fruitful session, as you enjoy the peaceful and relaxing experience of this large freshwaters of Malawi as you map the flow of your next articles.

With these few remarks, it is my singular honor and privilege to declare the session of National Budgeting for Business journalists officially opened. May God bless us and bless Malawi. Thank you!