Chakwera vows to fix Malawi’s broken systems in order to attain middle-income economy status

State President Dr. Lazarus McCarthy Chakwera has vowed that his administration will “fix our broken systems” in order for Malawi to achieve the middle income economy status.

Chakwera, who was delivering a State of the Nation Address (SONA) in Parliament today, vowed that his administration will work towards fixing the systems with a view to usher the country into a new future.

The challenged Malawians to desist from despairing that Malawi is a “glass half-empty” in terms of resources for transforming the country into a middle income economy.

“The truth is that Malawi has so many more national treasures than other economies that are doing better than ours. All we need to do to translate our national treasures into national transformation is fix our broken systems. In fact, my dream is that by the time my administration is done; it will be remembered as the administration that fixed the systems to usher this country into a new future,” he said.

Added Chakwera, “Fixing the systems is the bridge to a future tourism industry around natural resources like Lake Malawi, Mulanje Mountain, Majete Game Reserve, Kasungu National Park, and Nyika Plateau.

“Fixing the systems is the bridge to a future manufacturing industry around agricultural products like maize, groundnuts, pigeon peas, soya, tea, mangoes, bananas, sugar cane, tomatoes, hemp, and tobacco.

“Fixing the systems is the bridge to a future creative industry around the musical, artistic, sporting, and artisanal talents of our youth.

“Fixing the systems is the bridge to a future civil service that is so free of corruption that it delivers roads that do not wash away when it rains, hospitals that do not increase a patient’s chance of dying of curable diseases, schools that do not produce unskilled graduates, and a police service that protects citizens without harassing or extorting them.”

The President also reported that within the four months that his President Delivery Unit (PDU) has been addressing systemic bottlenecks and that so much has been accomplished already in various sectors.

Chakwera touted PDU as a big success and that has kick-started routine tracking and follow-ups with government ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) responsible for delivering on key projects.

He said, so far, PDU has brought together more than 140 people from 40 different organisations, working together to fix system failures and get projects meant for serving Malawians back on track. Of the 192 projects we assessed, 104 were prioritised and worked on.

“One example is the construction of the COMESA Competition Commission        and the COMESA Federation of Women in Business complexes. Malawi won the bid to host the two regional institutions in 2013, which would bring US$110 million in investment and create 2,000 jobs, but bureaucratic system failures left the project stuck on paper and in meetings for 8 years. We fixed those system failures and now construction is scheduled to start this coming Fiscal Year.

“Another example is the Nchalo Greenbelt Limited, which is implementing a cotton irrigation project worth MWK18 billion in investment with the potential to benefit 20,000 farmers and develop 10,000 hectares of land. Because we fixed the system failures that were holding it back, the project is now back on track towards completion by June 2024.

“Similar systemic failures have been delaying progress on the 350MW Mpatamanga Hydro Plant, a US$1 billion investment. We met with stakeholders and identified the systemic failures that need fixing, and now we are on the move,” he narrated.

However, Chakwera admitted that Malawians are facing serious challenges following the rise in the cost of living, which is reflected in the jump in annual average inflation from 8.6 percent in 2020 to 9.3 percent in 2021.

He said this rise originated from the increase in the landed cost of fuel following the rise in global demand as economies began to rebound.

The President added that the weakening of the Malawi Kwacha against major trading currencies like the United States Dollar, as a result of reduced export proceeds and drying taps of donor assistance, also contributed significantly to the rise in average annual inflation.

“Additional factors creating inflationary pressures are supply chain related, such as long queues of containers of goods waiting to unload, shortage of labour, and lack of critical inputs for most products. It is worth noting, Madam Speaker, that while the annual average inflation has increased, the annual average food inflation actually dropped from 13.0 percent in 2020 to 11.4 percent in 2021 on the back of a bumper maize harvest last season, a demonstration of the impact of the AIP in macroeconomic management.

“At the same time the annual average non-food inflation, which is significantly but not exclusively dominated by imported inflation, rose from 4.7 percent in 2020 to 7.4 percent in 2021, clearly reflecting the effects of external shocks. Overcoming most of those shocks requires fixing the systems for building domestic productive capacity. That is our goal,” said Chakwera.

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