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Mr Gwanda Chakuamba (2003)

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Wednesday, June 25, 2008

‘Bills gathering dust’


09:12:27 - 25 June 2008

ECONOMIC bills are still gathering dust in Parliament five years after they were presented in the House, analysts have said.

But government has attributed the delay to the negative behaviour of
opposition legislatures in Parliament that had delayed proceedings in
the august House.

Society of Accountants in Malawi (Socam) says the delay is putting the
country’s business practice in conflict with international standards.

In an interview Tuesday , Socam president Andy Kulugomba said it was
obvious that lack of new laws is slowly affecting Malawi’s economic

“It is very worrying for everybody as these bills are critical and the
more they stay idle in the House the more it affects our development as
a nation.

For example the Companies Act was formulated in 1984 and as it is
today the law is in conflict with international standards of business
practice,” said Kulugomba.

According to Socam the economic bills among others include amending the
1957 Insurance Act, Companies Act (1984), Employment Bill, Public
Accountants Bill which would facilitate the merger between Socam and
Public Accountant Examination Council (Paec) and Mipa-Mepc Bill.

Kulugomba added that it would be better if Parliament could consider enacting some of the bills at the next meeting.

“The current state where all bills are not being touched is
discouraging professionals from coming up with new proposals to update
our laws which is not good as it would deter economic growth and affect
regulation of some business sectors,” said Kulugomba.

In his remarks Minister of Economic Planning and Development Ken
Lipenga said it is government’s intention to have all economics bills
discussed and passed by Parliament but it was unfortunate that politics
is dominating deliberations in parliament.

“These bills were drafted to respond to the needs that are there which
would have been resolved after enactment but both opposition and
governmet side are faced with the current political tension.

It is obvious that we are not addressing some the country’s needs that
are there since some bills have indeed overstayed in the house,” said

Parliament was suspended last week by President Bingu wa Mutharika
after opposition Members of Parliament indicated that they are not
interested to discuss the national budget without resolving the issue
of Section 65 first.

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