Malawian citizens have expressed their views on the current economic recession and public service reforms arguing that if the country is to change then the change should begin with the highest office in the land and trickling down to ministers.
The sentiments were expressed during a public debate called Bwalo la Nzika which was organised by Citizen Alliance in partnership with State of the Union (SOTU) for citizens to participate in generating solutions and actions to fix the economy.
The organisers observed that Malawi economy is in deep recession hugely affecting social service delivery and frustrating efforts towards sustained growth.
“Majority of Malawians are still trapped in poverty with millions facing hunger. However, Malawi has the potential to develop and economically liberate millions trapped in poverty,” said Philip Kamwangira Publicity Secretary of Citizens Alliance.
Speaking at the debate , economy watchdog MEJN director Dalitso Kubalasa observed that if the country has to have meaningful reforms should start from the presidency down to ministers by trimming unnecessary allowances and cut their take home packages other than overburden the citizens.
“The mid term budget review will give the opportunity to the leadership of this country to show that they are also part of the citizenry by trimming their fuel allowances and other benefits to match the austerity drive being undertaken,” observed Kubalasa who was speaking in his capacity as a citizen.
He further argued that ministers should trim their fuel allowances from 1000litres to say 500litres and other benefits taking into consideration that International Monetary Fund declaration that our economy is off track.
“This is the time to show and test leadership. The burden should not only be brought to bear on the already overburdened citizens who are overtaxed and yet the leaders enjoy tax free benefits,” argued Kubalasa.
Felix Jumbe, who also participated as a citizen, said the public service reforms should start from the highest office of the land and it should well be articulated by defining the core function analysis.
“Malawians have the potential to develop and economically liberate themselves from poverty if government can find means of wealthy creation to its citizens. On public service reforms the government should come out clearly on what it wants to achieve and involve the citizens in every step. Otherwise are the reforming or deforming?,” wondered Jumbe.
On his part Kamwangira said his organisation took the opportunity to gather views from the citizens which will be consolidated for policy engagement with government so that the citizens should hold their government accountable.
“We are concerned that Malawians are overburdened by taxes on the little packages while the highest paid officials enjoy tax free benefits. Somehow this is not adding up,” said Kamwangira.
Bwalo la Nzika is a non partisan forum for citizens to participate in generating solutions and actions to fix Malawi’s ailing economy and other social issues.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :