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Mr Gwanda Chakuamba (2003)

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Friday, July 13, 2007

Uranium mining upgrades Malawi
13:56:51 - 13 July 2007

FINANCE Minister Goodall Gondwe may have drawn one of the best budgets in modern times but the small package allocated to infrastructure has undermined the good intentions of the paper.

Malawi Confederation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (MCCCI) said yesterday, at K14.8 billion, the minister had allocated only a quarter of what was expected on infrastructure.

“This is an increase but we were expecting more on infrastructure as one way of oiling the private sector,” said Chancellor Kaferapanjira, MCCCI chief executive during the post-budget meeting.

He said although the figure was small, it was still an indication that the current government was focusing on production with emphasis on private sector-led growth.

“It is clear that we are changing from the past regimes where more emphasis was on consumption, so the departure from that syndrome is encouraging,” Kaferapanjira said.

The money in the infrastructure envelope would go towards the building of roads, communications networks, power supply--sectors that are crucial to private sector-led growth.

In the budget, Gondwe said government plans to spend about K11.6 billion on building and maintaining roads, an increase of 44 per cent higher on last year’s allocation.

In addition, the minister said government would also invest more in the energy sector to turn around and ensure that there is adequate power to drive the economy.

Members at the meeting expressed disappointment at the current performance of Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (Escom) saying constant blackouts were making the cost of doing business extremely high.

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