Opposition Aford’s Karonga-Nyungwe MP, Khwauli Msiska, on Tuesday told parliment that Malawi should take International Monetary Fund (IMF) advice to devalue the local currency Kwacha before the end of the year.
“We are treading on a dangerous path if we don’t want to be truthful. Not long ago, it was almost obscene to relate the fuel crisis to foreign exchange until one courageous Minister told us to start getting used to this,” Msiska said.
He told the House that even cabinet ministers and senior government officials were using the black market to access foreign exchange “where the value to a dollar is somewhere K270 to K300.”
The Aford lawmakersaid; “I expected to hear an alternative to devaluation or what happens after three years (to devalue the kwacha) should the home grown policies fail.”
Msiska’s call comes after Leader of Opposition in parliament, John Tembo said liberalization of the Malawi kwacha is the only solution to the economic problems currently rocking the southern African country.
President Bingu wa Mutharika remains adamant that he would not devalue the local currency.
He was backed by MP for Dedza central Sosten Gwengwe who said the previous devaluation failed to improve the economic climate in the country .
Gwengwe also backed the the Zero Deficit Budget which Tembo criticised. The opposition leader arguyed the majority of the country’s citizens continue to live in what he described as “grinding poverty”.
“Those fighting the Zero Deficit Budget (ZDB) haven’t suggested an alternative way which would be perpetual and indefinite begging, I refuse to be part of such thinking,” said Gwengwe to a loud cheers from government benches.
He claimed ZDB had started showing positive results.
But Atupele Muluzi, Deputy Leader of UDF in parliament said on Monday the ZDB has seen Malawians highly taxed, resulting in companies folding up within the last few months.
Atupele said the ZDB has “squeezed the living standards of ordinary people.”
He added: “Most Malawians have little or no disposable income left.”
“Small businesses are struggling to survive and many are on the verge of collapse. Delivery of services has been affected too with many hospitals lacking drugs and essential medicines,” Atupele said.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :