In what can be described as government’s seriousness to fix the bleeding economy, only one cabinet minister attended the coronation of Senior Chief Ngongoliwa in Thyolo on Saturday as the rest stayed in Lilongwe to discuss trade and investment led by Vice President Saulos Chilima during a cabinet retreat the same day.
Only two Ministers missed the crucial discussion and orientation with Local Government Minister Kondwani Nankhumwa attending the coronation as it was his role while Foreign Affairs Minister George Chaponda was out of the country.
The retreat, courtesy of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), followed President Peter Mutharika’s plea to UNCTAD Secretary General Dr. Mukhisa Kituyi to train the cabinet on how Malawi can speed up and utilize her trade and investment agenda.
Kituyi said President Mutharika was passionate to have his cabinet oriented on trade and investment to help speed up national development in the landlocked southern African country.
“The President said he was under enormous pressure to deliver on moving from aid to trade and wanted his Ministers to master the elements of trade and investments across the board because for trade to boom there is need for synergies,” said Kituyi.
Kituyi, a former politician, cabinet minister and an MP in Kenya for 15 years, said politics has always let down most ministers because they tend to disregard technical advice in fear of losing elections.
“This business of politics is what has let down many brilliant ministers in Africa as they tend to start following the political line either to please the party machinery or to win favors from the president so you end up taking everyday as campaign day,” said Kikuyi.
He however said the retreat was meant to harness synergies among ministries with regard to their respective roles in fostering trade and investment.
On his part, Vice President Chilima who chaired the discussions alongside Kituyi on Saturday after officially opening the retreat on Friday night, said the sessions centered on overall economic development strategy, building productive capacity for economic transformation, policy coherence and effective institutional coordination, among others.
Chilima, a technocrat plucked from the private sector to partner Mutharika in 2014 elections, urged the Ministers to take the orientation seriously and seize the opportunity.
“The challenges that we are facing including poverty require concerted and aggressive efforts to address them. I therefore urge you my fellow cabinet colleagues to seize this opportunity that UNCTAD has availed to us to improve our capacities in policy making on international trade and investment for sustainable development,” said Chilima.
The orientation attracted a number of international experts on trade and investment which did the drilling during the closed sessions attended by the ministers and technical staff chaired by Chilima and Kituyi.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :