Malawi President Joyce Banda New Year Message

My Fellow Malawians;

Christmas and the dawn of a new year are upon us.

Across Malawi, we will be coming closer together as a nation, as a community and as a family to celebrate this season of peace, love and hope.

send all Malawians the very best wishes for a merry Christmas and a happy and prosperous new year.
My Fellow Malawians

President Banda

As Malawians, we have a lot to be thankful for.  For me, among the many things, I thank God for the courage that this nation showed for allowing a constitutional and peaceful transition of power this year.

I personally thank you, all Malawians, for the honour and privilege to serve you as your Head of State and being Malawi’s first female President. You have shown me your love and you have opened your hearts to me.

You have given me new ideas.  You have bravely challenged my ideas.  You have trusted me with your future.  And for this, I am deeply thankful.

My Fellow Malawians

I know as much as you do that this nation is passing through challenging times.  The past 3 years have been difficult socially, politically and economically. When I delivered the State of the Nation Address in May, I confessed that we have inherited a difficult economy and these problems will not be solved overnight.

I asked and prayed for your patience, resilience, hard work and unity as important attributes for us to overcome the challenges that we are facing. In my Christmas message to you today, I pray for the same. I do so knowing very well that the challenges are still there.
Some challenges that we inherited such as international isolation; our soured relationship with neighbouring countries and the political anger and pain in the country were easier to deal with as they just needed executive decisions.
My Government worked very hard to normalise and even improved these relations.

I instituted some measures to allow our nation to heal in order to move forward.

I am grateful that you heed my call and from April we moved into a new future together.

However, the other challenges such as the impact of suspension of aid; shortages of fuel and foreign exchange; increasing levels of poverty are more are complex issues and need more time to resolve.

I therefore seek your patience and understanding as the Government works to find lasting solutions to these challenges.
My Fellow Malawians

Nine months ago, when I took over Government, I found out that our economy was at a point of collapse. We are discovering that things are worse than we imagined.  There was so much hidden from our view.  We were completely out of money.  Inflation had already gone up but was being artificially controlled; the prices of many goods and services were, in fact, rising everyday as you may recall. Fuel was being sold at around MK1,000 per litre on the black market. The United States dollar was sold at MK300 on the black market. This was almost double the official exchange rate. All these things were happening before devaluation.
In order to address these problems, my government had to make difficult but necessary decisions; one of them was the need to devalue the Kwacha. I am aware that this has led to increased cost of commodities and life has become difficult for many of our people.
However, I am equally aware that to move forward we needed to realise macro-economic stability in order to create a conducive environment for economic growth and wealth creation, and hence the decision on the devaluation of the Kwacha, no matter how difficult it was, it needed to be made, sooner to avoid the total collapse of our economy.
I am happy that this decision and other sound monetary and fiscal policies initiated have helped to unlock the foreign exchange and now we have been able to mobilise over U$800 million since April this year.
My Fellow Malawians
To address the impact of devaluation, my Government established social protection programmes like public works, cash transfers, school-feeding and food aid. These projects have been launched in both rural and urban areas and I am confident that many of our people are making a livelihood out of them.

My Fellow Malawians
I want to assure you that I am committed to remain on course with these reforms. I know that the short term will hurt but the longer term will reward all of us.
In building a brighter future, my Government established the Economic Recovery Plan to deal with challenges of political and economic governance by creating sustainable and progressive monetary and fiscal policies to stabilise the economy.
My administration has also introduced austerity measures to cut on waste and promote prudent fiscal management.

In order to address the medium to long term policy road map, my Government has developed an economic blue print—the Economic Recovery Plan—to identify sources of growth and generate foreign exchange. In this vein, Government has decided to promote a private sector-led economic growth with five priority areas: Agriculture, Tourism, Mining, Energy, and Infrastructure Development.

My Fellow Malawians
In conclusion,
I have always said as President of this country my job is to lead not rule, foster unity and good governance. It is for this reason that I fully recognise the important role of opposition parties in and outside Parliament; and civil society and the need to encourage public policy debate and accountability.
My government also remains committed to promoting the independence of the three arms of government; to promote media freedom and engage with the private sector as the engine of growth.
Malawi remains committed to maintaining good regional and international relationship as a point of learning and support.
My Fellow Malawians
We have come this far.  The darkest hour of the night is behind us and dawn is just about to break off. I urge you to stay on course. Malawi will no longer be the same.  We are about to close this chapter in our history of continued suffering. We have begun a new book about Malawi; a new book that tells the story of our great people, of our wealth and glory and of our peace and redemption.
In closing, I recognise that in Malawi, like in many other countries, the festive season is about sharing, giving, prayers, love, and celebrating the birth of our Saviour Jesus Christ. Let us show love and share with those who are in need.
As we celebrate, let us be conscious of the security of people and property. Let us keep our homes safe and drive carefully on the roads.
May God bless you all!
May God bless this great nation!
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

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