Abuja - Opposition members within Malawi's parliament have lashed out at government officials over plans to purchase eight new vehicles as part of President Peter Mutharika's convoy, Nyasa Times reports.
Raised during scrutiny over the country's K1.1-trillion budget, opposition MPs lashed out at Finance Minister Goodall Gondwe's allocation for the purchase of new vehicles, stating that the expenditure was unnecessary.
But Gondwe came out in defence of the K980m allocation, claiming that the presidential motorcade was 12 years old and needed replacing.
He also defended the allocation of K95m for a multi-purpose banquet hall to be added to the State House, saying that the marquee that was previously utilised had been destroyed in a storm.
Opposition MPs questioned government's priorities in light of the country's ailing economy, stating that unnecessary allocations were being added to the budget while 2.8 million Malawians were on the brink of starvation.
Grasshoppers and mice
The development followed just a day after Mutharika said that starving citizens had no reason to go hungry when grasshoppers and mice were available for their consumption.
While speaking during a political rally over the weekend, Mutharika urged Malawians to be resourceful in their search for food and money, while claiming that his administration is under pressure to find solutions to the issue of hunger that has gripped the souther African nation over the past few months.
The Malawian government has previously said that one million tons of maize imports would be needed to combat a food shortage caused by severe drought across the southern part of the continent.
In addition, Mutharika himself, has also previously claimed that his government had managed to raise just $63m to use in the purchase of maize, with $237m still being needed in order to feed the almost 8.4m citizens in danger of starvation.
While stating that Malawi's food production would decrease by 50% this year, Mutharika at the time assured citizens that no-one would die of hunger in the country.