The celebrations for making it to the New Year of 2016 might apparently be short-lived for most Malawians as some economists expect them to continue facing the current economic woes since prices of most basic needs will likely go up because the currency will continue to be unstable.
Senior officials from the Centre for Social Concern (CSC) have echoed the same claims saying Malawians will continue to swim through hot waters because things will go worse in this brand new year.
One of the officials from the centre, Chikondi Mendulo told this paper on New Year’s Eve that the gap between the poor and the rich is also expected to widen making the country very hard to live in for poor people who are the majority.
“Things will really get expensive due to the instability of our Kwacha which came due to the devaluation of our currency. The inflation rates will also worsen according to our findings,” said Mendulo.
It will be very hard for those who spent unnecessarily during the festive season because they will have to struggle to find money to access the basic needs.
According to Mendulo, goods like maize and other groceries are some of the most notable things which will get more expensive. Records observed by this publication indicate that prices of basic needs already doubled in the past year as compared to the previous one.
For instance, in 2014 the maximum price for a 50kg bag of maize was at MK5000 but it was at MK7000 last year; a packet of sugar was at MK300 in 2014 and jumped to about MK600 in 2015.
Most goods including fuel will skyrocket and Malawians will probably be in hot soup. Moreover, government is also expected to introduce some sky high taxes because the budget for the next fiscal year will also shoot up and will still be dependent on locally generated revenues. Sources within the ministry of finance told this publication that government will keep on imposing heavy taxes on Malawians and will hike some of its services in a bid to generate more revenue to sustain its budget.
“They will raise fees in public schools and the issue of privatizing health institutions will come to reality. People must also expect heavy taxes because the next financial year will also go up as a result of the depreciation of Kwacha,” said the source.
Information gathered indicates that things will not stabilize in this New Year because donors are still not willing to pump in their much needed support – which amounts to 40 percent of the budget – unless some of the conditions they demanded are met.
Recently, the Malawi Energy Regulatory Authority announced a hike in electricity tariffs for this New Year, something which is a thorn in the flesh for most Malawians.
As if that is not enough pain, all water boards are also said to be strategizing on hiking their tariffs. It is for this reason that the CfSC has advised Malawians to spend wisely for them to be spared in the impending worst economic woes.