Tonse showing no sense of urgency in addressing economic crisis – Analyst


A social commentator says the Tonse Alliance Government has not shown any sense of urgency both in providing leadership and assuring Malawians that the current economic crisis is being addressed.

The analyst, Kondwani Bell Munthali, who is Acting Director Centre for Public Accountability (Open Malawi Programme) has said this in a letter dated 25 October and addressed to Vice President Chilima who is also Minister of Economic Planning and Minister of Finance Felix Mlusu.

Munthali noted that the recent International Monetary Fund (IMF) regional economic outlook indicates that Malawi has remained low-income country and consequently a vulnerable state, with growth projected at 2.2 percent, the lowest in years and a budget deficit of 8.2% of the country’s gross domestic product.

He said such a declaration is coming at the time when prices of necessities continue to skyrocket and when there is also increased fuel prices, reports of continued excessive domestic and international borrowing, closure of companies resulting in job losses and reports of shortages of medicine in hospitals among others.

“Whilst an ordinary Malawian now is worried if they will still have a job by tomorrow, or transport to go to their businesses, our leaders seem not to take cognizance of the deep poverty, distress, and anxiety that people are going through every day.

“There is no sense of urgency both in providing leadership or assuring Malawians that the current economic crisis is being addressed through specific measures either short or long term,” said Munthali.

He noted that in 2005, the then new administration eked up special measures including suspending international travel, reduction of government fleet and unnecessary waste which led to stabilisation of the kwacha and eventual economic recovery by mid-2007.

The same was the case in 2012 when Her Excellency Dr. Joyce Banda, the fourth Republican President, restored economic stability that included an economic recovery plan, that restored essentials that were missing including fuel, stabilised prices, and gave Malawians assurances that the leadership was addressing the crisis then.

Currently, the kwacha continues to fall and prices of goods continue to skyrocket, but, Munthali argued, Malawians are yet to hear the short term and long-term measures Government is putting in place and if at all there are any measures to cushion the most vulnerable.

He expressed concern that government continues to borrow heavily and leaders continue to spend foreign exchange through monthly travels, unusual priorities such as spending K2 billion for new vehicles and hiring of unlimited number of presidential assistants.

Munthali has since asked the two ministers to provide information on what they are doing to address the now full-blown economic crisis.

The information being sought, based on section 37 of the Constitution, include measures put in place to address the fall of Malawi Kwacha, measures to address the continued increase of prices of basic commodities, safety nets to assist the ultra-poor and most vulnerable cope with increased commodity prices and measures to address the salaries gap which are below cost of living since prices have gone up by almost 300% since January 2021.

Munthali also wants the government to immediately review of Pensions Act to allow those out of work or retired to access all funds to help them engage in other economic activities, suspend public financed local and domestic travel and review operations of the Administrator Generals Office and other deceased estates payment systems to enable beneficiaries access assistance in timely manner.

“Malawians will be keen to hear from your good offices as to when they can start to see the economy stabilise and prices return to normal,” said Munthali.


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