Youth development and sports Minister Enock Chihana has said President Mrs Joyce Banda inherited a government that had only $174, 000 in foreign reserve, a development that necessitated the devaluation of the Malawi Kwacha.
Chihana, who is also AFORD’s Member of Parliament for Rumphi central said this on Friday during a rally he addressed at St Denis Catholic Hall in Rumphi district.
“During the first cabinet meeting which we had with president Mrs Joyce Banda we discovered that the country had only $174, 000 in its foreign reserves. Malawi’s economy was completely shattered,” said Chihana.
He said this is what neccesitated the devaluation of the kwacha in order to resuscinate the economy which was on the blink of collapse.
President Banda devalued the Kwacha with almost 50 percent. She came into power after the death of Bingu wa Muthalika in April of this year.
Government has however come under fire from Consumers Association of Malawi executive director John Kapito and opposition parties mainly DPP who said government rushed into devaluating the Kwacha without first putting bail out packages that would cushion the effects of devaluation.
Kapito’s sentiments comes amid soaring food and commodity prices with the resources-poor rural Malawians being the hardest hit.
Chihana however said government had consulted widely and concluded that devaluation was the neccesary evil in order to revitalize the battered ecomy.
He also hit out at government critics on taming the effects of devaluation saying “you dont put bail out packages when you have nothing in your coffers”
During the meeting, which was attended by civil servants, the bussiness community and commoners, Chihana took time to market the Malawi recovery plan saying government is on right track to fix the economy.
”We are moving on the right track and the problems facing Malawians will soon end,” he said
The sports minister therefore called for patience saying no single government in the world recovered from a massive economic meltdown in 5 months.
”We have been in government for only five months and people expect miracles within such a limited time? Malawi’s problems need 8 to 9 months to be fixed,” said Chihana.
Chihana said Malawi’s problems are further compounded by political bickering and mudslinging. He therefore urged the people to unite and so to it that the country is bailed out of abject poverty.
Commenting on the Malawi Economic Recovery Plan, the sports minister said the Joyce Banda administration has set five priority areas that would help fast-track economic recovery.
He said government wants to revitalize the energy sector and put an end to persistent power outages that are the order of the day in Malawi saying no single country has developed with black outs.
Chihana said besides, Nkula hydro-powered electricity, government wants to generate electricity from coal.
He said this coupled with the US’s $350 million millenium challenge coperation funds will help in ensuring that the country generates enough electricity to support the country’s industry sector.
In agriculture, Chihana said government with continue promoting green belt initiative, subsidy programme, crop diversification and promote mechanized farming in order to ensure maximised production.
He also government wants to improve the tourism sector through infrastructure development such as resorts, hotels and improve the road networks connecting to the country’s tourism sites.
”Here in Rumphi, we have Nyika National park but the road to the park is pathetic. This can not attract tourists to flock to the national park. We have to improve the road netwroks connecting to various tourism designated areas,” he said.
Other areas of focus includes mining and transport and public infrastructure sectors.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :