President Lazarus Chakwera has defended his government’s decision to devalue the Kwacha by 25 percent saying the devaluation has helped free up some forex for importation of goods.
Chakwera made the remarks in an interview with Al Jazeera aired on the network on Sunday, July 31, 2022.
The Chakwera administration devalued the Kwacha in May this year to realign the exchange rate with economic fundamentals as part of the government’s quest to get a new International Monetary Fund (IMF) Extended Credit Facility (ECF) programme.
Following the devaluation, prices of basic commodities, which were already high, have further skyrocketed, pushing up the cost of living.
However, speaking to Al Jazeera Chakwera, spoke highly of the decision to devaluate the Kwacha.
“Devaluation of Kwacha was a necessary evil. That re-alignment has helped a lot, free up some forex so that we are able to import what is necessary,” said Chakwera, adding that discussions with IMF have also shown that Malawi could have a programme with the IMF.
On tackling a rise in food prices, Chakwera said his government is encouraging the production of crops such as cassava and potato to supplement maize production.
On job creation, Chakwera said people are getting jobs and the government through construction works which his government is encouraging. He added that National Economic Empowerment Fund has also disbursed K37 billion in business loans to 162,000 groups.
Asked by host Nastasya Tay if he thinks those protesting against his government on the streets have a valid reason, Chakwera said he realizes that the efforts made by his government have not supplied the jobs needed by everybody.
He said: “So, they are protesting and they have the right to do that but we are also doing something that if you ask the millions that have been helped, they would also tell a story that sometimes is not being told when the emphasis is just on those who protest.”
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