Economist blames JB govt over ‘poor communication’ on causes of economic turmoil

A local economist says lack of communication from government authorities on the causes of and solutions to the current economic problems facing Malawi is a major contributing factor towards resentment Malawians have towards the current administration.

Executive Director of Capital Alliance,  Chikavu Nyirenda,  was reacting to blames which Malawians are showering upon President Joyce Banda’s administration due to economic hard times the country is going through largely caused by devaluation of the local currency.

Malawi economy continues to be pinched by a double-digit headline inflation rate, high cost of borrowing, a dramatic depreciation of the kwacha and a projected slowdown in economic activity.

Nyirenda said such anger would be avoided should government authorities hold sensitization meetings with the local populace on the cause of the problems and giving the hope of how the problems will be solved.

Nyirenda: Proper communication needed

“I think the government machinery need to constantly engage the people through public rallies or radios and sensitise them that these things are expected because through devaluation we have got liberalized exchange rate, automatic pricing on the fuel and tell them that we should expect these things before things stabilize”, he said.

Nyirenda said he problem is the where there is silence people start speculating and some speculations can become dangerous.

“Currently there is no leadership that is engaging the people on what is happening on the ground and tell them where the country is heading to. So as a result people are becoming agitated,” he said.

Nyirenda cited examples of voices of dissent from executive director of Consumers Association of Malawi John Kapito who recently asked President Banda to resign and also recent petition from Blantyre football supporters who are threatening to hold demonstrations over government’s delay to re-open Kamuzu stadium.

“These might be the results of the frustration that people might have. So there is need for the government to come in the open and give hope to people. Otherwise it leads to stress that would result in negative ways which would be difficult for the government to control,” he said.

Meanwhile, Malawi’s former finance Minister Goodall Gondwe has tipped the Joyce Banda administration on how to attain macroeconomic stability and, consequently, fully recover the ailing economy

Gondwe, who is highly accredited for maintaining low and stable macroeconomic indicators during late president Bingu wa Mutharika regime, thinks that anchoring adequate foreign exchange reserves, slowing down inflation rate and achieving an equilibrium exchange rate are key for the domestic economy to experience macroeconomic stability.

“We hope we will rest at a stable exchange rate and, therefore, once that macroeconomic stability is achieved, you have reached a conducive economic environment,” The Nation quoted Gondwe speaking at Nkopola Lodge in Mangochi during the 2012 annual Economics Association of Malawi (Ecama) annual conference, where he was one of the key discussants.

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