Life for Malawians will soon return to normal –Finance Minister

Malawi’s Finance Minister Dr Ken Lipenga said on Friday that life of Malawians will soon return to normal as the country will be moving on face track to economic recovery.

Malawi is on political knife-edge as pressure mounts on President Bingu wa Mutharika, who is presiding over a deepening economic crisis that has seen deepening poverty and unemployment.

But presenting a Mid-Year Review of the Budget, Lipenga said there is light at the end of the tunnel.

Lipenga: Confident of an economic turnaround

“During the first half of the year, both domestic revenues and grants performed above their set targets,” he told Parliament.

“Since domestic resources exceeded recurrent expenditure, we can say that based on the principle of financing recurrent expenditure from own generated resources, then the Zero-Deficit Budget is on track,” said Lipenga.

He said in the second half of the fiscal year, Government expects that domestic revenues will equally perform as initially projected.

“At the same time, Government will make every effort to receive all planned donor resources to invest in the socioeconomic development of the country,” he said.

“Expenditure will continue to be controlled to the end of the fiscal year so that Government is able to meet all its 2011/12 fiscal targets.”

‘Poetic listening’

Lipenga inspired hope that the economy of the southern African nation which is in turmoil will soon get back on track.

“Mr. Speaker, Sir, despite the adverse economic conditions which have prevailed, this Government remains optimistic that economic problems being faced are transitory and life for Malawians will soon return to normal,” he said.

“ I wish to invite members of this house and indeed all Malawians to join hands and put our head together to ensure that Malawi sustain her economic gains and forges ahead in a manner that assures that we achieve the Malawi Growth and Development Strategy and Millennium Development Goals,” added the minister.

The Finance Minister said he will lend a listening ear to stakeholders on suggestions and ideas on how to move into economic recovery lane.

Lipenga poetically said: “To listen, as I have done, to various stakeholders, especially our partners in the private sector and civil society, but also the Honourable Members of the Budget and Finance Committee. To listen to the Honourable Members on both sides of this august House. To listen to all and sundry, the humble and the mighty, the wise and the not-so-wise. To listen to those who agree with us but also, perhaps more importantly, to those who do not agree with us. “

He said “listening has the potential to enrich all of us and increase our chances of working together, as [President Mutharika] always reminds us, to find lasting solutions to the challenges we face.”

Lipenga however said listening “does not mean that one will agree with everything that is said.”

Nonetheless, he said he will listen, “for I subscribe to the eighteenth century French enlightenment philosopher Voltaire, who said and I paraphrase: I may not agree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”

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