By Peter Makossah, Nyasa Times
Malawi Watch says president Bingu wa Mutharika must get the US$20milion debt back from Zimbabwe and spruce down his bloated cabinet to size in order to address the country’s flagging economy.
The watchdog’s Executive Director Billy Banda says Mutharika must move swiftly “in addressing our economic struggles so that we can recover quickly”.
“One way to help our economy recover is by recovering US$20m which was unceremoniously lent to Zimbabwe. Malawian people need that money at this critical time of economic desperation,” said Banda.
But Malawi’s Finance Minister Ken Kandodo told Daily Timesthat officials went to Zimbabwe recently “in our efforts to recover the money”.
“Even us as government are not happy that such an amount of money has not been paid back for such a long time,” said Kandodo, according to the paper.
Malawi exported maize to Zimbabwe after paying local suppliers in local currency the equivalent of $100 million
The Malawi Watch boss also hinted that another way to keep the country’s economy in shape is downsize the cabinet reasonably from 40 to 12.
“Mutharika must also stop being extravagant. Why should a poor country like Malawi have a presidential jet that persistently excavates unfathomable holes in the pockets of the country’s economy and those of its ordinary citizens?” wondered Banda.
The French-made presidential jet- Dassault Falcon 900 EX presidential jet was bought at about $22.4 million in 2009 and is project to cost an annual US$300, 000 in maintenance and insurance.