Cushioning the current Malawi’s economic turmoil

Lazarus Chakwera speaking at The Africa Europe Foundation and Democracy Delivers by USAID in the United States where he condemnd coups

It never rains but it pours for Lazarus Chakwera’s government. If the headlines are not about looting government coffers through corruption and thievery, then they are reporting about the devaluation of our ailing local currency, Kwacha.

It is obvious that it is not by coincidence that Malawi has found itself entangled in the dire situation it is in.

Much as mother nature has contributed much to the ailing economy in our country, the Tonse Alliance administration is largely to blame for mismanaging the economy.

No responsible government can sit phwii with arms akimbo blaming Covid-19 pandemic, Cyclone Freddy, previous regime and Russia-Ukraine war for the worsening economy without providing solutions.

The truth of the matter is that Malawians are experiencing these excruciating economic hardships due to Chakwera government’s failure to manage the innocent economy.

What Malawians are going through now are the adverse of effects of Chakwera’s laissez faire style of leadership in general.

First, President Chakwera was supposed to appoint competent and well-experienced technocrats in key and crucial positions such as Minister of Finance, Minister of Agriculture and Reserve Bank Governor.

Devaluation of the local currency works well in a country that exports goods more than it imports.

Amangwetu, after devaluing the Kwacha, what is Malawi exporting that will earn it more forex?

The truth of the matter is that the benefits of devaluing the Kwacha are minimal in a country that is predominantly importing both raw materials and finished products.

This is the very same reason why Dr. Bingu wa Mutharika, an economist by profession, refused to devalue the local currency willy-nilly.

It does not require any knowledge of econometrics to appreciate that the moment Kwacha is devalued, inflation rate sours and prices of basic goods and services rise.

The Chakwera Government needs to strike a balance between bowing down to the demands of International Monetary Funds (IMF) and protecting the voter from adverse effects of devaluation.

The recent 44% Kwacha devaluation lacked proper timing as it was effected at a crucial time when farmers are busy buying agricultural farm inputs including fertilizer.

What this means is that farmers should brace for tougher times as agricultural farm inputs are expected to lunatically soar.

Second important step is for President Chakwera to assert himself as the driver of this country. He must be on top of issues.

It is significant to appreciate that all Chakwera’s appointees are there to help him to lead this country well.

It is therefore necessary for President Chakwera to get periodic reports from his appointees.

It is expected that these regular reports will assist President Chakwera to determine the trend and progress of events. For instance, our Kwacha has not just tumbled on a single day. It has been cumulatively depreciating on a daily basis.

Thirdly, the Chakwera government erred by cancelling IMF credit facility which was already secured by the previous Democratic Progressives Party (DPP) regime. By cancelling one clinched deal, they expected to get another better package from the same IMF. Sadly, they goofed.

To keep the government machinery running, the government has accumulated huge domestic and foreign debts.

It is advisable that Chakwera government must start managing such a huge debt as soon as yesterday. It can even probe for the possibility of a debt cancellation or debt write-off.

Fourthly, Malawi is experiencing economic meltdown partly because of the mismanagement of Agricultural Input Subsidy Program (AIP). A lot of money is pumped into the program and the proceeds from this initiative are minimal.

In fact, the program lacks monitoring and evaluating component to vet out if the undertaking is profitable and sustainable. Truth be told, it is not. It is just a political gimmick to score cheap points.

Fifthly, Chakwera government is advised to spend within the constraints of the approved budget. The willy-nilly overspending by the current regime has plunged this country into an economic abyss.

There were times when the government was reluctant to call for a parliamentary mid-year budget review session because all the budgeted money had been spent within 6 months.

Sixthly, Chakwera government has failed to walk the talk in as far as the implementation of economic austerity measures are concerned.

It is on record that President Chakwera globetrots a lot. His frequent domestic and international travels have drained our forex reserves.

Unfortunately, President Chakwera travels with a village of delegates depleting our government coffers further with exorbitant travelling expenses and subsistence allowances.

Amid economic meltdown in our country, how did President Chakwera allow the erstwhile Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Eisenhower Mkaka to charter a private jet to a virtual meeting?

Recently, many Malawians were bamboozled to hear that President Chakwera authorised Mrs. Catherine Gotani Hara, the Speaker of the National Assembly, to travel to 10 countries within 4 months campaigning for the presidency of the Inter-Parliamentary Union? No wonder she lost the elections.

Seventhly, corruption is draining government coffers. It is unfathomable that the Malawi Government can procure fertilizer from a London-based butchery company, Barkaat Food Limited.

It is very pathetic that President Chakwera has shown no political will to eradicate corruption. He literally pardoned corruption suspect, Dr. Bakili Muluzi and corruption convict, Mr. Uladi Mussa. Malawians expect all corruption suspects and convicts to face the long arm of the law.

Eighthly, usually natural disasters such as cyclone Fred and droughts are just inevitable. The Government is therefore advised to use relevant experts to forewarn people of the impending natural disasters. Contingency plans must be set up in advance to circumvent the effects of such disasters.

Lastly but not least, it does not assist matters just to complain about the effects of Covid 19 and Russia-Ukraine wars without offering solutions.

President Chakwera is therefore consequently advised to borrow a leaf from other countries on how they have coped with the adverse effects of covid 19 and Russia-Ukraine war.

By the way, what measures can the local citizens take to cushion themselves from this unfriendly economic environment Malawi is going through. Outlined are the recommended measures.

  1. Malawians are advised to explore various sources of income such as employment and small business adventures.
  2. It is highly recommended that people should spend their hard-earned money within their budget.
  3. Malawians can save a lot by cutting off unnecessary expenses such as booze, social gatherings and weddings among others.
  4. Do not be overtaken by unplanned events. Festive seasons of Christmas and New year are around the corner. Enjoy and celebrate wisely.
  5. Stay safe. As festive season is nigh, unscrupulous people take advantage to rip others of their property, hard-earned cash and even spouses.
  6. Buy essential goods and services in bulks. You will save a lot.
  7. Sharing is caring. The more you give, the more you receive. Don’t throw away extra food, clothes, money, beer or cigarette. Please share them to people in need.
  8. Work extra harder than ever before.
  9. Practice ubuntu over individualism. Uplift someone in your life. There are some elites who lead better individualistic life in town yet their relatives and parents are suffering.  Ubuntu means that we suffer and enjoy together.
  10. Be positive and optimistic. Usiku ungatalike chotani kumachabe basi. Do not worry too much about tomorrow for tomorrow will take care of itself. Just act in way you can now. There is literally no situation  that is permanent. The only entity that is permanent on planet earth is change. No matter how long it  takes to go through these economic woes under the tutelage of Reverend Dr. Lazarus McCarthy Chakwera, be optimistic that there will be light at the end of the tunnel. It is a question of time. So do not panic.

In conclusion, much as President Chakwera  is the driver of this country to lead us out of this economic mess, every citizen has also the responsibility to be part of the solution to the quandary at hand.


One Comment

  1. This is exactly what happens when you take over the government by force. Nothing works, the more you think you are doing the right thing the more it gets worsened. It’s time to confess to all Malawians that what the Tonse Alliance did was very wrong and we should expect the situation to get worse. There is nothing this government will do that will work honestly.

Comments are closed.