Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) — which in recent past was being deemed as turning a blind eye to the deteriorating economic developments of the country — has issued a scathing statement, saying since the Tonse Alliance took over government in 2020, all major fundamentals show that the economic situation — at both macro and micro levels — has deteriorated because the economy has been mismanaged.
“One just has to look at the foreign currency market to understand how Malawians are worse off,” said the public statement issued today, June 23 by national chairperson, Gift Trapence and his executive committee.
“The rapid depletion of forex has pushed the Malawi kwacha to depreciate by around 75% over the past 24 months, contributing sharply to the rising cost of living and general economic pain Malawians are feeling right now.”
HRDC maintains that the Tonse administration “sits on the largest budget deficit on record amid piling public debt on the back of largely unproductive spending” and that “the high levels of debt, both foreign and domestic, is astoundingly high, hovering around K5.8 trillion”.
“While it is true that this debt has accrued from past regimes, the current administration has contributed to it too through wasteful spending and general lack of financial discipline.
“A good example of wasteful spending is the Affordable Inputs Programme (AIP), which has seen government pumping billions of hard-earned taxpayers’ money into the programme despite advice from economic and agricultural experts that the programme is unsustainable.
“With 5 million Malawians facing hunger this year despite the government spending over K100 billion of taxpayer money in funding the programme, the continuation of the programme exposes the levels of Executive Arrogance in the Tonse Administration.
“To curb this trend, we urge government to restrain its huge spending appetite; cut domestic and international travel and get rid of the AIP and other unsustainable programmes.
“In place of the AIP, we urge government to define a clear policy on crop diversification and also encourage livestock production which continues to fall by the way side.”
HRDC further demands of President Lazarus Chakwera’s administration to expand irrigation farming and revamp extension services, which “remain political rhetoric and we believe these could help revamp the economy if properly managed”.
“And to show seriousness, we urge the President to trim his cabinet to 20 ministers and reduce his advisors. A nation that is reeling on its knees cannot afford to shoulder the burden of havig over 30 cabinet ministers and a horde of presidential advisors with their huge appetites for travelling and allowances on a daily basis.”
The advice to trim the cabinet to 20 ministers and reduce his advisors was also put forward by Consumer Association of Malawi (CAMA), whose Executive Director, John Kapito said this will make Chakwera to be seen as being serious on government’s cost cutting measures.
Entitled ‘Two years of Tonse Alliance’s Talk Show — Our rating of the Tonse Alliance Government in the last two years, HRDC calls on the Government “not to take Malawians for granted”, saying Chakwera’s leads an indecisive and slow decision-making administration.
“The hallmark of the Tonse Alliance administration is inconsistences, slowness and indecisiveness. For instance, Malawians were promised the Cabinet would be assessed within the first six months and non-performers would summarily be dismissed.
“But two years down the line, the assessment is not forthcoming. For months, some statutory bodies have people in acting capacities while embassies are operating without Ambassadors.
“The problem is emanating from the Office of the President and Cabinet which has been allowed to operate at its own pace, caging decisions and holding the country at ransom. At this pace, the country will not develop and it will take millions of years to reach the promised land.”
In its conclusion, HRDC calls upon the Tonse Alliance Government to “walk the talk on their electoral promises”, saying “the government needs to start doing things the right way by getting rid of dead wood within its ranks and file which is stifling progress”.
“The President must reshuffle his team and bring people who are capable rather than roping in friends and cronies that have self-interests rather than that of the country.
“We call upon the Administration to listen to the cries of its citizens who are heavily burdened by poor economic policies that are directly resulting in the rising cost of living.”Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :