Political and economic commentators have said there is no need for “pessimism” in vice president Saulos Chilima’s one million job creation promise, saying it is a possible dream.
University of Livingstonia political analyst George Phiri said this is disappointing to note the stand taken by President Peter Mutharika in doubting the the plan, saying as he should be in the forefront in advocating for such huge job creation.
“It is possible to create one million jobs. The government can create jobs even outside the country where Malawians can go and work. This is possible,” he said.
He said Mutharika needed to understand Chilima’s statement in wider horizon.
“The President should not be short sighted,” he said.
Malawi Economic Justice Network (Mejn) executive director Dalitso Kubalasa concurred with Phiri, saying one million job creation is possible if the government is determined.
Kubalasa also said the country can have high-speed trains, saying what Mutharika told the people in Nkhotakhota was merely meant to distort facts and mislead people.
Mutharika told people in Nkhotakota that what Chilima, who is the leader of the United Transformation Movement, was merely building castles in the air.
Presidential spokesperson Mgeme Kalilani said what the President said was just an expression of his opinion.
“As a human, he is entitled to his opinion. He was telling people that politicians need to be realistic when promising people,” said Kalilani.
Economic commentators argue that the fact that the Malawi’s economy is not diversified with productivity still low is enough reason for the country to continue failing to produce jobs arguing plans to create more jobs in the economy should accompany economic diversification.
Chancellor College economics professor Ben Kaluwa noted that unless the country boosts productivity by diversifying the economy creating a million jobs is wishful thinking.
“Talk of diversifying the economy first before talking about creating such number of jobs. We are not saying creating a million jobs is not possible in Malawi but taking from the state of affairs, it could take more than what we think to achieve this,” he said.
On quotes reported by the press, economic commentator Gilbert Kachamba said though possible, creating a million jobs would require a lot more than focusing on a single component of the economy.
He said: “Creating a million jobs is no joke. We are talking about real employment not seasonal or casual and to achieve this there are a lot of supply side constraints that need to be addressed to achieve that goal.
“For instance, the energy sector needs serous scrutiny because no serious investor can come to invest in the country in its current status but also the education sector needs some reforms to feed the growing industry with the skilled labour.”
UTM spokesperson Joseph Chidanti Malunga maintained the Movement believes it can use the available resources in the country to create jobs.
“We know that reducing the amount of money that goes into people’s pockets will certainly make a difference in the country. What we are saying is that we are going to build roads, hospitals and other infrastructure and we know this will translate in jobs,” he said.
Malawi has been facing a labour crisis with National Statistical Office (NSO) figures showing that unemployment rate in Malawi is at 23 percent, according to a labour survey conducted in 2015.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :