Alliance for Democracy (Aford) lone legislator Yeremiah Chihana has bemoaned deepening economic hardship in the country, saying Malawians are being reduced to economic refugees.
Outspoken Chihana, who is legislator for Mzimba North, said in parliament that new Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Development, Joseph Mwanamvekha has “a very big challenge” to manage the country’s economy.
Chihana, who was the evaluator of former president Bingu wa Mutharika’s deceased estate, said the international capital market is showing that even Kayelekera uranium mine in Karonga which was managed by Australian company Paladin, its assets are being sold from a value of US$700 billion to US$5 million, almost at an exit value.
“That is showing that the economy is bleeding, it is overcrowding. Malawians are now economic refugees in this country. They are not even being paid for their tobacco that is sold on time. They are not having even a minimum wage and not even having a minimum receipt to sustain their families,” he said.
He said Malawi is in economic meltdown, saying at Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital in Blantyre, patients are being turned away from admission because they cannot manage to pay their existing water bills of K15 billion.
“I am aware that this situation is also prevailing at the Army, Police and various hospitals in the country,” he said.
Chihana tipped Finance Minister Mwanamvekha on restoring the economy.
“The Reserve Bank of Malawi must have a counterpart from the Bundes Bank of Germany so that we can instil confidence in the Germans. In 1979 and 1985 when the economy was overheating, Dr Kamuzu Banda had to ask for the assistance of the one of the states in Germany, it will not be strange for you to ask for the same. The economy is not at the same level.
“Secondly, at the same time you can get a consultant from Norway to help with the economy and it is important to strengthen again the operations transactions of the Reserve Bank of Malawi. We have no choice because we are failing to control our own consumption,” he said.
He also persuaded government to lobby for the debt cancellation from international lenders through G20 summit “so that we can come back to a sustainable level because our export and debt levels are unsustainable.”
Malawi, one of World’s poorest countries, has experienced major economic difficulties since the suspension of donor aid in late 2013 in the wake of the Cashgate scandal, which involved the looting of public finances.
More than half of Malawi’s citizens live below the poverty line.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :