In the long run we all lose

A few days ago, there was an article by the same author entitled ‘As government meets the trade unions and employers’  in which the writer pleaded with government to reconsider the existing socioeconomic state of affairs that have in essence affected equally the employers and workers.

Sooner than later, a Nyasa Times journalist reported that one of the confectionery manufacturers Universal Industries cautioned of the imminent job cuts should the fuel and forex crisis persist. Yet one more said of South African retailer Game Stores is off-loading merchandise as it arranges to close down in Malawi.

The list of the affected companies can be continuous. Bakhresa Milling has closed its Lilongwe division, leaving many Malawians out of work. Puma Energy lately revealed how now it is impracticable to do business as most pump stations are dry. The company may consider of retrenching employees.

Employers Consultative Association of Malawi (ECAM) recently projected of 12, 000 job losses by December 31 if the twin problem of forex and fuel continue.

Due to fuel shortages, movement of goods and services becomes difficult and eventually forces the prices of food items and other commodities up, making life unbearable for average Malawians.

Due to the same fuel shortage, some companies that rely petrol/diesel in its production have resorted to close some departments. It is now hard to import raw materials (in case of production) and some merchandise (in case of retailers), due to the problem of forex shortage. This is how far our country has been affected.

Lasting Solution

Minister of Energy and Mining Goodal Gondwe attributes the current problems to less forex, not necessarily to the reserve tanks as government officials once made us believe.

Really, this calls for a single question, what makes this new revelation a lasting solution when Malawians have been told many others previously. However, when it is all said and done, it still/ will come back to us, the commons.

Companies shut, international stores pull out and jobs are lost. The unemployment rate rises, stranded people find alternative ways of dealing with poverty, which are not desirable to the society. Thievery, prostitution and so on.

With the rate at which the county is sliding backwards, an alarm button needs to be pressed. This then calls for a cooperation. Both the ruling and the opposition need to bang heads together and reason on how we can curb the problems. Our parliamentarians have failed though. In the last sitting, they failed to address the same.

While we would go on pointing fingers on who is wrong (of course, to most readers this becomes obvious and doesn’t need me write more), it is imperative to open our eyes wide and think of what will become of us tomorrow if the problems persist or really aggravate.

Mind you, muvi woyang’anira suchedwa kulowa m’maso.

May we better wait for Goodal Gondwe’s suggestion of trying barter trade with foreign investors. In his words, to lure international investors exchange their fuel for our tobacco. Again, this calls for a critical thinking if really the investors would be willing to have our Kwacha currency in their pocket.

Secondly, the tobacco in question is no longer the green gold that used to sell highly.

2014

When fuel and forex or any other problem the country is facing with the current government is discussed, some tend to say Malawians had better wait for 2014 to see change. Yes the time when the incumbent will be out of the Capitol Hill.

However, for a moment, think with me, how many jobs would be lost by 2014 (three years from now) if the problems are not addressed. Think of mothers that are dying in the hospitals because of blackouts, and unavailability of drugs. Think of Malawian ABMA/ABE/ICM students who fail to sit for exams because there was no readily available forex.

Perhaps politicians desiring the hot seat can wait that longer, yet a caring man/woman who has Malawians at heart need to offer the needed suggestions of curbing the problems. Yes, let both the ruling and the ruled, the NGOs, private sector sit down and redeem the nation.

Let government realize we are in critical stage, let it be a listening government. Only for this time, politics and the policies of the day have failed us and we need to work as a single nation and find solution that will see all of us safe. Remove the ‘them-us’, ‘Chewa-Mlakho’, ‘DPP-MCP’ concept. Or else, if Queens Elizabeth Central Hospital is hit by electricity blackouts and drug shortage, will only Chewa mothers be affected?

Think with, when Game Stores, Shoprite, Bakhresa Milling, Universal Industries, Puma Energy and others lay off their staff, will their respective management be selective to have DPP loyalist remain therein?

If left untackled, we (common Malawians whom the government, NGOs claims to represent and the opposition wants to represent in near future) will suffer. It is now or too late.

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