Malawians are Friday counting the cost of celebrations as they leaped into 2016 but most of them feel the year will not be any better than last year.
On Thursday, they celebrated the bidding farewell of 2015 in different styles with some spending the whole night in prayers though the majority spent the night eating, drinking and dancing and yelled as time struck 12 midnight on Thursday, marking the end to 2015, the year they say has been most difficult economically.
In the recent past as inflation rate went up uncontrollably and the kwacha tumbled mercilessly against the dollar making the cost of living go up drastically.
Major newspapers on Friday highlighted economic problems that Malawians faced in the just ended year while radios had news of police scuffling with people over the messy subsidy programme, an indication that Malawians have not dealt with 2015 problems.
President of Malawi Chambers of Commerce and Industry Newton Kambalu said 2015 was the most difficult year even for companies.
“Most companies either closed down or downsized. The electricity blackouts made things worse. Things will get worse in 2016 before they get any better,” he said.
He said the government still owes the private sector billions of money stiffling operations of the engines of economy.
“The private sector cannot produce much because of lack of money which the government owe them. Materials for production have become very expensive so too the equipment. The business climate is very hostile now,” said Kambalu.
He said corruption is still high in Malawi, alleging it is propagated by those in top positions, saying this has adverse effects on the economy which is too small to absorb it.
Minister of Finance Goodall Gondwe however thinks things will get much better in 2016 after the International Monetary Fund nods to an extended credit facility for Malawi.
Professor of economics at Chancellor College Ben Kalua doubts Malawi will qualify fr the IMF aid because of macro-economic fundamental flaws, including the governments high borrowing.
Meanwhile, President Peter Mutharika has wished all Malawians wherever they are a Happy and Prosperous New Year with new hope and resolutions to succeed.
In his New Year’s Address to the Nation, Mutharika also called on Malawians to embrace the three pillars of patriotism, integrity and hard work which he introduced in order for 2016 to be the year for all Malawians to remember
“We all feel humbled that Great Grace has taken us this far, and Providence has walked on our side. Fellow Malawians, I come to speak to you cheered up, encouraged, and inspired, because I believe the worst of the times are gone. And the best for us is yet to come,” said the President.
Mutharika described 2015 as one of the most challenging, and most trying times in Malawi’s history in which extreme rains and devastating floods were followed by scorching drought which burnt the crops that remained in the fields.
Malawi experienced the worst floods in recent years in January 2015. About 1.1 million people were affected; 106 people were killed; 172 people were reported missing; 230 000 were displaced whereas people’s property and public infrastructure as well as 64 000 hectares of crop fields were damaged.
He said in 2016, the economy is expected to rebound with a six percent GDP growth.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :