President Peter Mutharika says he has silenced his doubters by reducing blackouts in the country.
Mutharika made the remarks when delivering his State of the Nation Address at Parliament Building in Lilongwe on Friday.
The Malawi leader said many people doubted him when he promised to reduce power cuts last year – at a time blackouts were frequent and lasted long.
According to Mutharika, political rivals prayed that he should fail but his government has reduced the blackouts.
“This has not come by accident. First, I want to thank management and staff at ESCOM and EGENCO for working round the clock to end power shortages.
“They worked hard to meet deadlines, and they continue to do so. We have improved power generation capacity. But the improvement is also as a result of the reforms my Government has implemented in the power sector,” he said.
The Malawi leader mentioned reforms such as unbundling of ESCOM to create two institutions, rehabilitation of Nkula A hydropower plant and construction of new transmission lines and rehabilitated old ones so that they have more power carrying capacity.
On the economy, Mutharika said his government is determined to continue financing the national budget with domestic resources. He further said he found the economy broken and has made it stable without donor support.
“I want Malawi to achieve our deserved economic autonomy as soon as we can. This should be the goal for all of us. Let us all work together and work very hard to achieve our national economic autonomy,” he said.
Mutharika added that his government expects the economy to grow by 5 percent in 2019 and annual inflation to continue to decline and remain within single digit levels with an average of 8 percent.
On the Farm Input Subsidy Programme, Mutharika said he is aware of the challenges affecting the programme but will not listen to calls to stop it.
“FISP will not stop. I assure all poor farmers across the country that my Government will continue to provide them cheap fertilisers and seeds. We will however continue finding ways to make the programme more efficient and sustainable,” Mutharika said.
He further spoke about the education sector saying over the past five years his government has constructed 14 new full primary schools across the country and deployed 47,600 primary school teachers.
Mutharika noted that primary school enrolment rose from 4.6 million to 4.9 million learners and then promised to ensure that every child who finishes primary school to go to secondary school.
He added that his government will make sure that no Malawian fails to receive university education because of fees.
On tourism, Mutharika said his government will vigorously pursue a programme to transform Mangochi into a tourism capital of Malawi.
“We have a plan for a five-star hotel, an international airport, a golf course, shopping malls and modern roads and other top facilities to turn Mangochi into the centre of tourism in the country,” Mutharika said.
The Malawi leader then mentioned eight roads his government will construct in the next five years. They include the Msulira-Nkhotakota Road and the Dual carriage way from Biwi to Cross roads roundabout in Lilongwe City;
He also mentioned the construction of a MK10 billion Port at Likoma and airports in Mzuzu and Mangochi.
On health, Mutharika said government will construct 250 health centres across the country “to increase the proportion of people living within 8km radius of the nearest health facility from the current 90 percent to 98 percent.”
On corruption, Mutharika said government will strengthen laws by, among others, enacting deterrent sentences to convicts of corruption and will also introduce special courts to handle corruption cases.