Malawi poverty remains high -Atupele

Poverty remains high in the country and therefore it needs serious handling, Minister of Economic Planning and Development Atupele Austin Muluzi has noted.

Muluzi speaking in Lilongwe when he presented the results of the third Integrated Household Survey (IHS3) conducted by the National Statistical Office (NSO) from March 2010 to March 2011, said poverty levels among Malawians remain high because the economic growth which the country has realized over the years was not inclusive.

“As we have been growing our economy, the growth has not translated to better quality of life for our people. It was not inclusive growth,” said Muluzi who was flanked by his deputy minister Khwauli Msiska , Principal Secretary  in his ministry Ted Sitima-Wina and NSO Commissioner Charles Machinjiri.

“The challenge we have now is to ensure that growth is inclusive especially considering that Her Excellency the President’s vision is poverty eradication through wealth creation within the context of the Malawi Growth and Development Strategy (MGDS) II and the Malawi Economic Recovery Plan,” he observed.

Atupele Muluzi: We need to change the way we create wealth

Key drivers

He said government had identified key drivers of growth within the country’s economic sectors in order to aggressively pursue economic transformation.

President Mrs Joyce Banda announced that within the context of government’s Medium Term Development Strategy (MGDS II) and the Economic Recovery Plan, priorities within priorities that have been identified include energy and transport.

The two, according to Banda, are key to ensuring that Malawi attracts Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) into Malawi and at the same time realising that the private sector is the key to economic growth and job creation.

And within the context of Export Diversification, government has identified agriculture, mining and tourism as areas that can turn the country’s economy around in the shortest time possible and help realise the target 15 percent growth.

New measurers

Muluzi then revealed that in order to make Malawi very attractive for investors President Banda will announce new measures apart from the ones already contained in the national budget.

The NSO third Integrated Household Survey (IHS3) results show a slight decrease of poverty levels from 52.4 percent in 2004/5 to 50.7 percent in 2011.

Muluzi said the Joyce Banda administration remains determined to ensure that the country’s economy grows significantly if poverty among Malawians is to be eradicated.

He reaffirmed that President Banda’s challenge that the country needs to grow its economy by 15 percent over a sustained period of time in order to eradicate poverty will be met due to the support being given to the current administration.

“This is a challenge we are all determined to meet realising the enormous window of opportunity that is before us as a direct result of the positive signals that have been generated by this administration,” said Muluzi.

However, the minister warned that the window of opportunity Malawians currently have will not last forever as such there is need to seize it now and begin “moving in a new direction and change the way we create wealth.”

Muluzi also disclosed the country has no unemployment statistics, saying government has asked the Statistics office in Zomba to conduct “labour market survey.”

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