State House has justified the increased budgetary allocation, in the revised 2020/2021 fiscal plan, saying the additional funds will go towards renovation of the state residences.
In the revised budget, Minister of Finance Felix Mlusu increased the budget for State Residences from about K6.5 billion to K8.4 billion representing an increase of K1.9 billion.
However, the increase has seen a backlash with many, including Parliamentary Budget and Finance Committee questioning the rationale behind the increment.
Speaking to iHubOnline, Committee’s Chairperson Gladys Ganda opposed the move, describing the move as surprising considering that in the first half of 2020/2021 budget State House overspent, with over K220 million.
Ganda said it would have been better if Minister of Finance allocated the extra money towards fighting Covid-19.
“The idea to increase allocation to State House is raising a lot of questions. We’re are surprised that our Minister is putting additional chunk to a place where we know in the first half already the budget was bloated. It is the same as rewarding them for overspending,” worried Ganda.
But speaking during State House Weekly Brief on Monday, Presidential Press Secretary, Brian Banda, defended the adjustment saying the additional money will be used for renovation as most state residences are in bad state.
Banda said that even now that the money allocated to State Houses has been increased but it is much lower, compared to what was been allocated before President Dr Lazarus Chakwera ascended to power.
“Most State Residences are in bad shape, so the additional money in this current budget will be used for renovations. The money may seem as a huge chunk but this is much lower than what was being allocated before Dr. Chakwera bacame president.
“I can give you an example a year before President Dr Chakwera took power State Residences were allocated K15 billion, so if you can compare you will see that the current increase is much lower,” justified Banda.