Malawi president Peter Mutharika has said Malawi has made tremendous progress in all sectors of the economy despite the challenges the country has encountered.
President Mutharika was speaking on Wednesday at the 20th Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa-COMESA Heads of State and Government summit in Lusaka Zambia.
He said his government has in a short period of time changed the economic status of the country claiming it is now at least in a good shape compared to how it was some four years ago.
Mutharika added that he is targeting to improve Malawi economy further so that Malawi can participate in the regional economic affairs as a stronger country.
He said one of the tactics he used to stabilise the country’s economy is the cutting of his international traveling through limiting Malawi’s participation in some forums.
“I am delighted to report that we have made progress against the odds. When I came to lead Malawi in 2014, we found a very difficult economic situation. We had a deficit that nearly equalled our annual national budget.
“There was simply no money because of the massive looting of government resources that we called Cashgate. We had to take the route of tough austerity measures, which included cutting down on travel,” said president Mutharika at the summit.
Mutharika further said that Malawi’s economy was heavily affected both in 2015 as well as 2016 when the country experienced double tragedy of national floods and drought which led to hunger countrywide.
He said throughout this time, Malawi had no budgetary support from any donor but achieved economic recovery without donor budget support through crises of national disasters.
He continued by listing some of the developments he has done since he became Malawi president saying he has managed to reduce inflation from 24 percent to a single digit and interest rate which according to him was at 42 percent four years ago today is at 16 per cent.
“We have also taken our foreign currency import cover from the lowest point to the highest point in our economic history. From an import cover of 2 months to an import cover that now stands at 6 months. Our local currency is now stable and predictable.
“In these few years, we have taken GDP Growth Rate from 2.4 percent. In the 2018/2019 financial year, we expect growth to be at 4 percent in 2018 and rise to 6 percent in 2019.
“We are also implementing a robust Foreign Direct Investment program. Malawi has significantly improved on the Global Doing Business Index,” he said.
Mutharika added that the goal is to have a smaller government and a bigger private sector which he believes is the way the region must go.