The National Assembly has today, 23rd October, 2020 concluded its 1st Meeting in the 49th Session of Parliament. The 7-week long Budget Meeting of Parliament saw the House table a number of issues including passing the 2020/2021 Budget. Below is a summary of business which was considered and disposed of by the House during this Meeting.
1. Opening of the 1st Meeting of the 49th Session of Parliament
His Excellency, the State President, Dr. Lazarus Chakwera on Friday, 4th September, 2020 officially opened the First Meeting of the 49th Session where he delivered his maiden State of the Nation Address (SONA) entitled, “Restoring warmth to the heart of Africa,”
2. Confirmation of the Inspector General of Police
On Wednesday, 9th September, the House confirmed the appointment of Dr. George Kainja as Inspector General of Police.
3. Presidential Question Time
During this Meeting of Parliament, His Excellency, the State President, Dr. Lazarus Chakwera twice fulfilled provisions outlined in Section 89 of the Republican Constitution, to appear before Parliament and answer Questions from Members of Parliament. The State President first appeared Appeared on 10th September, 2020, then 21st October, 2020.
4. Consideration of the Budget for the 2020/2021 Financial Year
The Budget Statement was delivered to the House by the Minister of Finance, Honourable Felix Mlusu on Friday, 11th September, 2020.
5. Cluster Committee Meetings
Following the Budget presentation, the House proceeded into Cluster Committees for a period of two weeks, from 14th – 25th September, 2020. During this period, the individual Committees scrutinized all the votes in the budget and engaged in extensive consultations with the various Ministries, Departments and Agencies. The National Budget was voted on over a period of three days in the Committee of Supply and subsequently passed on Wednesday, 14th October. The Minister of Finance subsequently moved for the adoption of the enabling Appropriation Bills on Monday, 19th October.
6. Government Bills
The House considered a total of 15 bills including 11 money bills, 2 election bills, 1 Constitution (amendment) bill and 1 Taxation (Amendment) bill.
7. Ministerial Statements
Four Ministerial Statements were presented to the House as follows:
The Honourable Minister of Agriculture- “The Affordable Inputs Programme”;
The Honourable Minister of Gender, Community Development and Social Welfare- “The Effects of Child Marriages and Teenage Pregnancies on Development”;
The Honourable Minister of Local Government-“The Constituency Development Fund (CDF) Guidelines”;
The Honourable Minister of Education- “Secondary Education Expansion for Development (SEED) Project.” and lastly;
Honourable Minister for Homeland Security-“Internal Security Matters”.
8. Ministerial Reports
On Thursday, 22nd October, 2020, the Honourable Minister of Finance gave two reports to the House on the Assembly on Governments Guarantee in favour of ADMARC Limited and Phanes Energy Renewables Nkhotakota Limited.
9. Questions on Notice to Ministers for Oral Replies
154 questions were sent to the various Ministries for oral replies. Out of these, 35 were adequately responded to.
10. Urgent Matters raised under Standing Orders 69, 14 and 193
The following were the urgent matters which were raised by the Members: Several urgent matters were raised by the Members including allegation of racism and mistreatment of indigenous black Malawians in certain establishments and cancellation import licenses for cement leading to a shortage of cement on the market and a rise in prices raised by Honourable Member for Mulanje Barley.
11. Committee Reports
The House also considered the following 6 Committee Reports from Public Accounts Committee, Parliamentary Committee on Legal Affairs, Parliamentary Committee on Industry, Trade and Tourism, Parliamentary Committee on Industry, Trade and Tourism, Parliamentary Committee on Transport and Public Infrastructure, Legal Affairs Committee.
12. Public Petitions
During the Meeting, the House received one public petition. The petition was delivered by the Honourable Member for Blantyre City East on behalf of Members of the Pension Act Amendment Movement. This petition was referred to the Budget Committee for further scrutiny.
The House is expected to reconvene in December this year.