Finance minister Goodall Gondwe has challenged Malawians to grow legumes instead of tobacco in a bid to turn around the ailing economy.
Gondwe said this in an interview Thursday after he presented a paper on the state of the economy at the just ended all inclusive Public Affairs Committee indaba.
“We now need to introduce legumes, we need to encourage our farmers to grow a lot of legumes, they are fetching a lot of money on the market,” said Gondwe.
The economy is going through turbulent times with inflation rate and bank interest rates record high and the kwacha sliding fast against the dollar.
Gondwe said legumes can earn the country’s much needed forex, saying that is the only crop the government is banking on to turn around the ailing economy for the better.
The Finance Minister was also upbeat that inflation would go down after harvest, saying the government commissioned estates to grow maize on a larger scale, saying this would help bring down food prices as well as inflation.
He said intensive economic and financial reforms taken by the government in the past six months clearly show that Malawi can stand on its own without the budgetary support.
“It is possible to locally fund the budget. We have lost the budgetary support but these have to be made up by ourselves,” he said, adding “we will have to work extra harder.”
He said the government has invited international economic and financial experts who will work with local experts on how best to expand the tax base.
Gondwe therefore said Malawians should not despair and lose hope.
“We have done a lot in the past six months. We are sympathetic with the people, we understand why they have lost hope because we are in the middle of economic problems,” he said.
He said President Peter Mutharika asks the finance minister every week on the state of the economy, an indication he said, the head of state is equally concerned with the status quo.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :