Presenting the provisional budget new Minister of Finance, Felix Mlusu highlighted key aspects in the interim budget which include:
• Affordable Inputs Programme (AIP). The programme seeks to target 3.5 million farmers who will access fertilizer at the cost of K4495 per 50 kg bag.
• Conditional increase of minimum wage from K35, 000 to K50, 000. Mlusu said his Ministry will engage key stakeholders on the labour market such as Malawi Congress of Trade Union and Employers Consultative Association of Malawi (Ecam) to review the minimum wage as guided by the Labour Act.
• Tax free bracket rose from K45, 000 to K100, 000. The rationale on this consideration is to free up more disposable income to lowly paid salaried people.
• Malawi Enterprise Development Fund (MEDEF) Youth and Women Loans increased from K15 billion to K40 billion. Mlusu said Government will gradually increase the allocation to K75 billion with a projection of creating 600,000 jobs.
Commenting on these measures, Bernard Mphepo, Programmes Manager responsible for research at Center For Social Concern (CFSC) said the new administration is on track especially with raising the tax free bracket.
“We have been conducting research throughout the country and our findings indicate that for a person to meet the basic needs he requires a disposable income of K184, 000. Thus, raising the tax free bracket to K100, 000 is a big plus to most Malawians,” said Mphepo.
The opposition led by Kondwani Nankhumwa has supported the provisional budget and the August House has risen sine die.