Gondwe promises to jump-start Malawi economy

Newly appointed Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Development, Goodall Gondwe has said the Peter Mutharika government will take more aggressive action to jump-start Malawi’s economy and get it back to its lost glory where it was second fastest growing after Qatar.

Gondwe said in an interview with Nyasa Times after taking oath at Mtunthama State Lodge in Lilongwe on Friday that his role will be to “spearhead a campaign to revamp the economy.”

“The economy seems to be dysfunctional,” noted Gondwe who began his political career serving as an economic adviser to former president Bakili Muluzi and subsequently Bingu wa Mutharika.

Gondwe (L) and Mutharika: Re-united in  government of technocrats
Gondwe (L) and Mutharika: Re-united in government of technocrats

The revered Malawian economist also served in a short stint former president Joyce Banda as Economic Minister when a series of austerity programmes were introduced to improve the country’s economy which was in dire straits after late Bingu wa Mutharika had alienated international donors with his hard-line policies.

The former International Monetary Fund head of the African division, said to jump-start the economy, the government will ensure there is job-creation and provide services to the public with civil servants getting their perks in time.

“To ensure that the government is functioning, we will strive that services require to be provided are provided,” he said.

Gondwe said the government will aim at reducing the skyrocketing inflation rate, eliminate colossal amount borrowed by government from banks and that interest rates are reduced.

He said Mutharika government will honour its platform commitments and correct things that the previous regime was getting it wrong.

Gondwe feels it is necessary for Malawi to resume attaining high economic growth rates which averaged 7.5 percent during the Bingu regime.

Malawi growth rate fell sharply to 4.3 percent in 2011 and 1.9 percent in 2012 from a growth rate of 6.7 percent in 2010 and a peak of 9.7 percent in 2009, which was only second to oil-rich Qatar.

Executive Director for Malawi Economic Justice Network (MEJN) Dalitso Kubalasa told Nyasa Times that Gondwe was “the right choice” the position of Finance Minister.

“I think he does have a vision in terms of how Malawi’s economy can be recovered, then grow and prosper, and I have full confidence in him,” said Kubalasa.

President Mutharika whose vice president, Saulos Chilima, is also an economist and former Managing Director of telecommunications firm Airtel, a local unit of Bharti Airtel, is on record saying his administration is “determined to change the direction of the economy” and would target annual economic growth of 7 percent.

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