Malawian President Mrs. Joyce Banda on Friday said government is on track to achieving economic recovery, saying short-term reform agenda that commenced last May has already achieved a number of important gains.
The President was speaking at Bingu International Conference Centre in Lilongwe when she officially opened a two-day joint conference organized by Ministry of Finance, Reserve Bank of Malawi and International Monetary Fund (IMF) within the context of the First Review of the Extended Credit Facility (ECF) arrangement, which was approved by the IMF Executive Board on July 23, 2012.
“The restoration of a programme relationship with the IMF is a key achievement of my administration. It has helped to pave the way for the restoration of macroeconomic stability and mobilization of enhanced support from several of the country’s key development partners,” observed President Banda.
She said when she came to power in April, 2012, the nation needed to both restore and consolidate macroeconomic stability and establish a strong foundation for diversified, inclusive growth and that it was imperative to focus on both healing the nation as well as building the future of Malawi.
“As you know the Malawi Growth and Development Strategy II (MGDS-II) and the Economic Recovery Plan (ERF) were both officially launched by the Right Honourable Khumbo Kachali, Vice President of the Republic of Malawi and Minister of Health on September 28, 2012, formalizing the on-going implementation of the ERP and MGDS-II,” she said, noting that the Malawi Growth and Development Strategy (MGDS-II) remained the overarching reference document for the development agenda.
She said, however, the Economic Recovery Plan lays out an action plan over the short- to medium-term to make rapid progress towards the eradication of poverty in the country through economic growth and wealth creation.
“When I took office in April this year, our nation needed to both restore and consolidate macroeconomic stability and establishment of strong foundation for diversified and inclusive growth.
“The Plan (ERP) will sharpen the focus of the MGDS II by emphasizing on key sectors and activities deemed critical in the transformation process,” President Banda said.
She further explained that government has shown its willingness to put the economy back on track by taking bold decisions, saying beyond austerity it is also government’s goal to put Malawi on the path to prosperity. She added that government is focused on delivery and results.
“Government has shown its willingness to be bold to put our economy on a path of wealth creation. Beyond austerity, it is also our goal to put Malawi on the path to prosperity and that government is focused on delivery and results,” she explained.
President Banda said her Government was aware of the pain economic reforms have on the society, especially the vulnerable and that in this regard, Government is implementing a number of social programmes to cushion the poor against the negative impacts of devaluation.
“These projects include labour intensive Public Works Programme, Social Cash Transfer Programme and School Feeding Programme. To ensure food security in the country, my Government will continue with the Fertilizer Input Subsidy Programme (FISP). I want to assure all Malawians that we have sufficient maize in our grain strategic reserves to last until the next harvest season and those affected by hunger will be supported,” said the Head of State.
According to the President, the conference provides an opportunity for reflection and strategizing on critical policies and measures and objectives needed to help implement both the ERP, which was discussed and formulated last June during the National Dialogue on the Economy, and the ECF-supported programme.
“We recognize that we still have many challenges, and seeing our plans through to reality will require everyone to come together. The efforts of the government alone will not be sufficient. We will need Local Assemblies to align their priorities and programs with those of the ERP and focus on delivery as well.
“We will need civil society to keep us informed and engage us on what is working and what is not. We will need our development partners to help with our quest to be efficient and effective.
“We will need the private sector to seize the opportunities as well as support our efforts in creating an enabling environment for growth. Indeed, we will need all stakeholders and the people of Malawi to show resilience and the determination to succeed,” she said.
Finance Minister Dr. Ken Lipenga said Malawi is destined for better economic future because of the “bold economic decisions Government has undertaken under the leadership of President Banda.
David Owen, Deputy Director of African Department, IMF, pledged IMF’s continued engagement with the Banda administration to repair the economy, urging the Government to stay on course with regard to the conceptualized reforms.
The conference will end tomorrow, November 3, 2012 and is being held under the theme: “Malawi-toward more inclusive growth.” It is aimed at highlighting some of the key measures and mechanisms that will enhance the attainment of economic recovery.
Joyce Banda took power on April 7, 2012 following the sudden demise of Bingu wa Mutharika who died of cardiac arrest on April 5, 2012.
Before Banda rose to the presidency, the country was entwined in economic challenges such as forex and fuel shortages coupled with collapse of bilateral relationships with donor community.
This resulted in suspension of aid to the country which greatly impacted on the vulnerable Malawians.–(Additional reporting by Mlenga Mvula, Malawi News Agency)Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :