President Lazarus Chakwera has promised that his Tonse alliance administration will fulfil its electoral manifesto which include free electricity connection and creation of one million jobs, adding that a policy is being formulated to see to it that the promises are achieve.
In his televised address to the nation on Sunday from Kamuzu Palace in Lilongwe on taxpayer funded MBC , Chakwera said government has put in place measures to see to it that Malawians are provided with safety nets as a relief from the challenges that are there due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
He said even though Covid-19 has led to delays in some projects his administration will make sure all promises in its manifesto are achieved.
Chakwera said the the government he inherited in June last year was not was not one with all the tools to immediately end the economic pain people are feeling.
“I wish I could tell you that the government I inherited was the beginning of life in Canaan. But that is simply not the case. To be sure, my administration has ended the cruel political bondage we all suffered under the previous [DPP] administration. But though we can rejoice that our political slavery has ended, we must now wisely navigate the economic wilderness we have entered if we are going to reach the promised land of a resilient and robust economy of shared prosperity,” said Chakwera.
He said the wilderness his administration entered 245 days ago is a government presiding over an economy of falling revenues.
The President said as announced by my Minister of Finance in his Mid-Year Budget Review Statement before Parliament on Friday, K600.1 billion was projected to be collected during the first half of the current financial year, yet what we collected fell short of that target by 6 percent.
He said wilderness his government entered is presiding over an economy of rising costs; unforeseen expenditures towards managing Covid-19 and the unforeseen expenditures for readministering the Malawi School Certificate of Education Examinations have contributed to an over- expenditure of 2.5 percent above the K974.6 billion targeted for the first six months.
“This has necessitated an upward revision of the expected net domestic borrowing in the second half of the financial year by 34 billion Kwacha, a testament to the wilderness conditions we are operating under,” he pointed out.
He further said the wilderness his administration entered was a government presiding over an economy of severe job losses and depreciating incomes. It was a government with a public debt stock of 4.1 trillion Kwacha, which is 65% of GDP, with an interest bill of 376 billion Kwacha to be met this fiscal year alone, which is more than triple our budget for development.
“It was a government which owed the Malawian business community K228.2 billion for goods and services received but not paid for. It was a government whose resources were being routinely and wantonly siphoned into political party coffers.
“So, as we travel through this wilderness on our way to Canaan, I am mindful of the economic pain that many of you are still experiencing,” he said.
Chakwera said his government has the economic reliefs put in place “to cushion the poor against the economic aftershocks of the pandemic, to revitalize the business sector, and to get us back on track with our agenda for transformation.”
He said: “You entrusted us to govern on the promise that we would deliver the Hi-5 Agenda that is driven by the values of servant leadership, uniting Malawians, prospering together, ending corruption, and the rule of law.
“Our progress in advancing each of these pillars towards building a new Malawi is steady and sure. “
Chakwera said the Tonse alliance review of the Civil Service to promote servant leadership across the public sector is underway; and its refusal to employ the primitive tactics of denying Malawians opportunities on the basis of their tribe or region of origin is intact.
“Our fortitude in shutting the doors of the public purse to those who wish to steal from Malawians to finance their political parties and fatten their bellies is unmoved; and our indiscriminate application of the law to those who break it is constant.
“Even so, our implementation of an agenda of economic transformation that guarantees that all Malawians prosper together has slowed in the face of the pandemic. However, though the pandemic may have delayed our progress and affected our timelines for delivery, it can never deter us from our resolve to deliver what we promised Malawians as Tonse Alliance in the 2020 Fresh Presidential Election Campaign.,”he said.
Chakwera said despite the efforts of some to mislead the public into despair, the signs of Tonse alliance resolve to deliver what it promised are plain to see.
He highlghtes “a few clear examples:
- We promised a 75 billion Kwacha fund to give loans to young people and women so that they can start new businesses. Last year, we successfully rebranded the Malawi Enterprise Development Fund (MEDF) into the National Economic Empowerment Fund (NEEF), which we restructured under new management. This month, despite the pandemic, we began rolling out this fund, beginning with the disbursement of over 1 billion Kwacha to over 6000 people, mostly youth and women, who are the first to benefit from a 40 billion Kwacha portfolio this year, to be increased to 75 billion Kwacha next year. I am therefore calling on the new management of NEEF to speed up the rollout of the program to more beneficiaries.
- We promised a fertilizer subsidy program, and despite the pandemic and many naysayers, we delivered the Affordable Inputs Program (AIP) in record time. As we speak, the program has supplied 345,652 metric tonnes of cheap fertilizer to 3,788,070 beneficiaries, more than double the tonnage and beneficiaries of any program like it in the past 10 years, and the flourishing maize fields around the country speak for themselves. Going forward, our focus will be the transformation of the agricultural sector through mechanization at production, irrigation, industrialization, and commercialization levels.
- We promised to pursue industrialization through the creation of Special Economic Zones where shells will be reserved for SMEs of various sectors in a drive to move our entire economy towards industrialization. The pandemic may have delayed us in rolling this out, but we are not deterred from seeing it done.
- We promised an ambitious infrastructure agenda, including flagship road, housing, railway, and institutional projects across the country. The pandemic may have delayed us in rolling this out, but the construction of thousands of houses for security agencies has already begun, because we are not deterred from seeing it done.
- We promised free electricity and water connection, and though the wilderness conditions we are under may have delayed us in rolling this out, we are developing a policy for implementing this in the coming fiscal year, because we are not deterred from seeing it done.
- We promised to create one million jobs for the young men and women of our country. And deliberately, all the programs we are implementing have a job creating effect, whether it is the AIP, or our new policies for the promotion of SMEs, or our flagship infrastructural projects, or our decentralization of mask production. We are developing mechanisms for quantifying all the jobs created through all our initiatives and programs, and at an opportune time, we will give you a portrait of where we stand.
Chakwera said Tonse Alliance will never give in to despair and we will never give in to negativity but is determined to ensure that there is macroeconomic stability within the economic framework within which we will be operating.
“We are determined to build a new Malawi, one step at a time, one day at a time,” he said.
Chakwera, alongside Vice-President Saulos Chakwera passionately campaigned on a platform of rooting out corruption and transformation.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :