House starts debating state of the nation address

Written by  Gladys Nthenda

Members of Parliament on Monday started debate on President Peter Mutharika’s state of the nation address (SONA) delivered on Friday during the opening of the 2017/2018 budget meeting in Lilongwe.

08
May

 

Zomba Chisi legislator Mark Botomani who moved a motion to commence debate on the President’s speech said he was impressed with the strides government has made on the economic front noting that the country’s economy is on the rebound as evidenced by the reduction of banks’ lending rates.

 

He cited investments in water supply and road network as some of the areas which show that Malawi is heading in the right direction.

Botomani applauded government for the successful implementation of food distribution to needy households affected by hunger.

 

He also noted that the Jobs for Youths Project funded by the African Development Bank (ADB) will help young people secure employment and create an entrepreneurship spirit among them.

 

Seconding the motion was Chikwawa East MP Rodrick Khumbanyiwa who agreed with Botomani on the country’s economic performance as shown by the interest of some donors, who are now willing to help Malawi achieve economic growth.

 

Taking his turn Leader of Opposition Lazarus Chakwera stressed on the need for the country to add value to its products so that they attain competitive advantage on international markets.

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Dr. Chakwera noted that investing in the private sector and rural infrastructure would greatly assist in improving people’s living standards.

The MCP Leader advocated for universal agricultural subsidies and use of organic fertilizers to increase the country’s agricultural production.

 

He explained that the Nkhata Bay boat accident on Lake Malawi should act as a wakeup call to improve marine transport noting that procurement of ferries would be more ideal in guaranteeing safe transport.

 

The Leader of the Opposition hailed the decision by the World Bank Board to approve a $80 Million credit on May 4 to the Malawi government towards general budget support.

On the health sector Chakwera commended government for recruiting more than 12 000 additional health personnel and on the construction of the National Cancer Centre currently underway in Lilongwe.

 

He also patted government efforts to empower women and protect children and advised on the need to provide more protection especially to people with albinism.

 

Earlier on Speaker of Parliament Richard Msowoya announced that Lilongwe South East constituency previously held by Bentley Namasasu is now vacant following a Supreme Court ruling in March this year.

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On the Leadership of the House Msowoya communicated to members that Kondwani Nankhumwa is Leader of the House deputized by Cecelia Chazama while Henry Mussa is Government Chief Whip and Grace Chiumia is his deputy.

 

He also updated the House on some of the Bills which have been assented to by the President such as the Financial Crimes, Constitutional Amendment, Environment Management Act and ADB Jobs for Youths Loan Authorization among others.

 

Msowoya also explained that the Business Committee of the House agreed that apart from deliberating the proposed budget, Committee Reports, Private Members and Government Bills will form part of this meeting’s agenda.

 

The House will from 8 -19 May debate the SONA for 10 days and on the same Friday the Minister of Finance Goodall Gondwe will present the proposed budget.

 

From 22 May to 7 June legislators will break into cluster meetings for 2 weeks.

 

Msowoya also announced that Mangochi South West MP Justin Majawa who stood on an independent ticket has now crossed to the UDF while Frank Mwenifumbo re-joins Alliance for Democracy (AFORD) benches.

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