BLANTYRE–The State House has reacted to The Weekend Nation reportÂ that claimed it has blown its budget for the 2012/2013 financial year, saying it is “false and based on hearsay.”
Presidential Press Secretary Steve Nhlane said in a statement that: “The fact of the matter is that actual expenditure for State House during the 2011/2012 budget was K2.5 billion. The new administration also found debts amounting to K600 million.”
In its main story, the newspaper quoted unnamed government officials that State House had spent K2.6 billion -K800 million more than its K1.8 billion annual allocation for the year ending June 2013.
But Nhlane said Treasury allocated K1.8 billion during the 2012/13 fiscal year; thus lower by K700 million than the actual budget provided last year.
He said out of the K1.8 billion allocated for this financial year, State House paid some of the outstanding debts amounting to K400 million.
“The projected expenditure for the 2012/13 fiscal year will be K2.6 billion or slightly more than last yearâ€™s due to the following normal budget assumptions:
2. Motor vehicle running costs
4. Fuels costs
5. Arrears of debts
6. Transitional expenditures
Nhlane, a former editor of The Nation and Malawi News, said: “It is therefore false to say that State House has spent K2.6 billion by December 2012. State House further wishes to inform the nation that expenditure details by individual government ministries and departments will be provided by the Honourable Minister of Finance during the Mid Year Budget Review in Parliament, in line with the Public Finance Management Act.”
He said some of the K600 million debts from the previous regime dates back to 2009 and some are related to the former president Bingu wa Mutharikaâ€™s wedding with Callista Mutharika on wedding cards, air travel and lodging.
“Government is under obligation to pay its creditors, the majority of whom come from the private sector which is the engine for economic growth. Most government creditors get loans from commercial banks in order to supply goods and services to government.
â€œNot paying them is, therefore, killing the very sector that is supposed to play a leading role in turning around the economy.â€
He bashed the media, saying it should desist from publishing wanton falsehoods based on rumours if it is to continue to be a reliable source of information.
“The Weekend Nation report is pure sensationalism that borders on malice and a mockery of the journalism profession.
“State House is of the view that Nation Publications Limited has an agenda against it and in particular Her Excellency Mrs. Joyce Banda to discredit her,” the statement added.
The Banda admininstration has come under fire from critics who accuse it of excessive expenditure on foreign and internal travel, long convoys and daily engagements which force the government machinery to be on the move with her, with senior officials drawing huge daily allowances.
Tags: State House