Budget sidelines the north on road projects -Movement – Capital Radio Malawi
14 April, 2024

Budget sidelines the north on road projects -Movement

Voice of the North members during a presser

The Voice of the North (VON) has expressed discontent with the 2024/25 proposed national budget, citing the omission of crucial infrastructure projects in the northern region.

The advocacy group, dedicated to development justice, is particularly concerned with the absence of budgetary allocations for road projects specifically in the northern part of Malawi.

Speaking at a press briefing on Monday, VON chairperson Davie Botha demanded a thorough review of the budget to include essential road projects in the region.

Botha criticized the current fiscal plan, asserting that it blatantly reflects the continued marginalization of the northern region in terms of infrastructure development.

“As sons and daughters of the north, we are saddened by this marginalization of the region when it comes to road infrastructure and of course other equally important projects. Citizens from this region are taxpayers just like the rest and they deserve a better share from the national cake,” Botha expressed his frustration.

Botha insisted on swift action by the Government to reconsider road projects in the northern part of Malawi highlighting that the absence of funds for key road projects, such as the Rumphi-Nyika-Chitipa road is a ‘mockery’ of the budget consultative process.

“The message that Voice of the North would want Malawians to know especially the President of this country is very simple; We have seen in the proposed budget that there are no funds allocated to any road in the north and we want this budget to be revisited before a vote-by-vote can start being debated because if they start going vote-by-vote it will mean that this issue is bypassed,” he said.

Expressing the urgency, Botha urged the Head of State to summon the minister of finance for an explanation regarding the lack of funds for roads in the northern region compared to other regions.

He further called on legislators from the region to boycott the budget session if it remains unchanged to demonstrate their commitment to the region’s development.

He said: “If they (parliamentarians) cannot do that, we are calling on the chiefs especially the Paramount Chiefs to summon all MPs in the northern region for a caucus so that we tell them (lawmakers) what to do. We are even calling on them to start boycotting the parliamentary session on this budget until the president and the minister of finance allocate some funds to the roads in our region.”

He warned that failure to heed their calls could lead to a campaign to remove MPs from their positions during the 2025 elections.

The roads that VON wants to be funded include the Rumphi-Nyika-Chitipa, Chiweta-Mlowe, Mzuzu-Usisya, Kakwale-Luwerezi-Kabuwa, and the Embangweni-Edingeni-Euthini, and Mzimba-Ezondweni-Njakwa.

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