By Yamikani Harji, MACHINGA
There is no consolidated budget yet for the delegation accompanying President Lazarus Chakwera at the 78th United Nations General Assembly-UNGA in New York, United States of America which runs from September 18-26.
Information Minister Moses Kunkuyu has disclosed this after The Radar inquired on the final budget and delegation making the trip as President Chakwera and First Lady, Monica, leave on Friday.
“Budgets, I can’t have the figures now since there are people from different institutions and different grades, so this calls for gathering of information from these areas,” says Kunkuyu.
On the delegation, he says the figure they are working on remains 35. He had earlier indicated that President Chakwera ordered the trimming of the delegation by 80 percent to cut costs.
Clarifies Kunkuyu: “His focus was from the 12 ministries that had been invited not been drafted into the trip. It has to be noted that Government does not draw the programs and express interest to participate.”
He adds “UNGA draws the program and sends invitations to those they feel need to attend meetings that relate to their offices and they sent the invitations to various ministries the president directed that the number of ministers be four.”
The four are drawn from Health, Trade, Finance and Foreign Affairs.
“Obviously these ministers would’ve been going with their officials and by their ministries being chopped off so are the ministry officials,” says Kunkuyu.
Meanwhile, Foreign Affairs Ministry says Chakwera will; among others, address the Assembly, lobby for financial support towards Malawi’s efforts for recovery and reconstruction after the cyclone shocks and other pandemics.
It further says they will communicate in due course when the Malawi leader is expected to return home.
Some feel the trip is a wastage of the already depleted forex and hard-earned taxes. They still think Chakwera should remain home and provide answers to the prevailing bad economy and high cost of living.
Yet, other commentators believe he must avail himself at such high level forums and engage people and institutions that matter to help mitigate the economy; currently worsened by the recent devastating and deadly Tropical Cyclone Freddy and staggering pubic debt of K7.9 trillion as it December 2022.
The 78th UNGA will be happening under the theme: “Rebuilding Trust and Reigniting Global Solidarity: Accelerating Action on The 2030 Agenda and Its Sustainable Development Goals towards Peace, Prosperity, Progress and Sustainability for All.”