Economics is very complicated, not only as a discipline in academics but also as an aspect of people’s livelihood and government policy. Unfortunately, despite its complexities, economics is the most crucial aspect people’s lives, at household and government levels.
At household level, I believe that every person is an economist because each one of makes choices among many options to get the best rewarding outcomes and experiences. Our economic decisions are influenced mainly by our needs.
And since our needs are too many and endless and our incomes and resources are very limited, we choose which needs to satisfy first and which ones to forgo, depending on the bearability of the consequences triggered by the forgone need or option.
At government level unfortunately, government’s economic policies and decisions are very much influenced by politics. In government, politicians do not choose options and policies that have the best economic rewards to the public. Instead, they opt for choices and policies that maximise their political advantage.
Politicians are interested in votes, and keeping themselves and their Parties in power forever. Both, the ruling Party, and the Opposition have the same goals which puts public economic benefits second, and their political ambitions first.
Looking at the recent suspension of the school fees hike, at a time when government is extremely broke, that it cannot afford to finance any of the public goods, one can easily notice the influence of politics in economic policies and decisions of government or the ‘politics of economics.’
Education in public institutions, from primary schools, secondary schools to colleges and universities, is a public good. This means that government subsidies this education with billions of Kwachas.
Therefore, when government is broke as it is now, subsidies become a burden and a major threat to economic recovery. The ideal policy under such a circumstance is to cut on subsidies so government can save the billions to efficiently support its recurrent expenditures or budget.
In fact, it does not make any economic sense, to force government to continue paying subsidies for everything, when it is broke, because the questions is, “where do you think the government will get the money to subsidize the public goods when it is broke?.”
Here is the politics by both, the ruling party and the opposition: When government resolved to hike the fees, which was an act of rare boldness, they knew that it was the best economically rewarding policy under the circumstances, but they have rescinded the decision because of the political pressure from the Opposition. But the Opposition too, know very well that the hiking of fees is a sound fiscal policy at the moment, because government must cut on costs.
But the opposition knows that Malawians don’t want to pay higher schools fees. They know Malawians are complaining. So they want to take advantage of the situation, to pretend to care for the welfare of Malawians, and present themselves as sympathisers, when it true sense, they are only scoring a political point. On the hand, government is scared of allowing the opposition to score a cheap political point on this.
The truth is that the extra financial burden that Malawians would endure with the hike of school fees, is only the trade-off of the decision, to give government extra financial resources provide the same public goods we are desperate about, like medicine and food in hospitals, food in prisons, water, fuel for ambulances, and many more.
We cannot run away from that, because every economic decisions has trade-offs, even the decision not to hike.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :