Malawians are facing a Christmas of discontent as they have to battle it out for survival since the cost of life for November was much higher than October, Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Development Goodall Gondwe has conceded.
Centre for Social Concern says the basket needs, an average cost of life, has gone up in the last month.
The faith-based economic advocacy group says in November, a family of six would need K172, 000 from K166, 000. The centre says this is very expensive for ordinary Malawians.
Gondwe said the year 2016 has been tough for both citizens and government as the cost of living soared on the back of falling real incomes amid persistently high inflation rates.
The country’s purse keeper said Malawi’s economic turmoil has also been worsened by donors who he said had not “lived up to their promise to provide aid through their own means” to Malawi.
“Although donors promised to help the country through their own means there are still many gaps in as far as their funding is concerned. I hope that the donor community, while they may not give us direct budget support [DBS], they will provide ad hoc support, and this support will be increased,” he said.
This comes at a time when the economy is still in shambles, with the inflation rate hovering at 19.9 percent.
Reserve Bank governor Charles Chuka has said the government expected the inflation rate to be in single digits by now and conceded the economy is still in bad shape.
He told President Peter Mutharika that if the state of the economy remains the same for a certain period, the bank will issue a new bank note after the K200 new note comes into circulation on Monday.
Economics Association of Malawi (Ecama) president Henry Kachaje said government must take necessary steps to revive the ailing economy, saying private sector, touted as the engine of the economy has been hard hit.
“It looks like the engine has been knocked down and has ceased, so some repairs need to be done.”
One of the country’s most vocal NGOs, Centre for Development for People (Cedep) has accused the DPP administration of pushing the blame of the current economic situation on other factors rather than coming up with strategies that can take Malawi out of the mess. He describes the purchase of a K100 million vehicle for the President as wastage of State resources.
“Our kwacha continues to depreciate against major [trading] currencies and our purchasing power has been greatly eroded. Yet the DPP led government under the so called visionary and dynamic leadership of President Mutharika has either buried its head in the sand like an ostrich thinking the problems will disappear on their own or are living in denial.
“He [Mutharika] has not told Malawians the Government solutions and action plans with clear benchmarks to end these many problems. What he has done is to distance himself from these problems and remain silent,” Cedep said in a statement
Meanwhile, Gondwe failed to put a brave face to the media if government will anchor the economy in 2017 , saying it lies on how the rains will fall.
“It will be difficult to tell you how the status of our economy will be in the year 2017. This is because I don’t know whether the country will experience enough rainfall,” said Gondwe.
“If the rain will fall as it has started and according to the prediction of the meteorological department then, our economy will be in good condition and if not then it will be worse,” he added.
Gondwe described the 2016 financial status of the country as disaster.
He said this was because of the climate change which resulted into floods and dry spell.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :