The former president Joyce Banda has said the country’s economy is worse now than it was when she was president of the country from 2012 to 2014, promising to continue her People’s Party (PP) vision of uplifting the economic and social status of poor Malawians with a ‘phase 2’ if elected in May elections.
Banda ascended to the presidency on April 7 2012 in line with constitutional order after the death of former president Bingu wa Mutharika. Up to that point, Banda was Bingu’s estranged vice-president who was expelled from Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) in December 2010.
In the 2014 Tripartite Elections, she lost as her People’s Party (PP), formed in early 2011, garnered 26 seats in the 193-member Parliament, 65 local government seats out of 457 contested and finished third in the presidential poll with slightly over one million votes.
Speaking during a political rally she addresses in Traditional Authority Kalembo in Balaka on Saturday, Banda spoke in support of critics of Farm Input Subsidy Programme (Fisp), saying it is not fully benefiting the poor.
She said: “Poor people are being registered for subsidy fertilizer without being helped to access the farm inputs.”
Banda said during her time as the country’s leader, subsidy fertilizer was at K500 now beneficiaries pay K3 5000 and pledges cheap fertilizer when elected as President.
“When I come back as President I will reintroduce the K500 subsidy fertilizer to enable the poor afford farm input,” she said.
Among the successes of her two-year presidency, Banda cited increased economic growth from 1.8 percent in 2012 to six percent in 2014, increased foreign exchange reserves and import cover from one week in April 2012 to three months and increased electricity generation through the addition of 64 megawatts following the commissioning of Kapichira Phase II Project.
Banda, who championed safe motherhood projects through a presidential initiative, also lauded the reduction of maternal mortality from 675 to 460 deaths per 100 000 live births.
She also prides herself for increasing fuel availability from zero to 15 days, promoting business and investment and healed broken relationships with foreign donors and other countries.
Banda was Malawi’s first female President and the first in the Southern Africa region as well as the second in Africa.
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