Wanga Gwede -Nyasa Times
Member of Parliament for Lilongwe City South East, Bentley Namasasu has hailed President Peter Mutharika for delivering a “comprehensive” State-of-the-Nation Address (Sona) until what he did last year when MPs christened it as a tweet, saying the President set the tone for development.
Namasasu, who is ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lawmaker, said Mutharika’s SONA touched on all areas of importance affecting Malawi.
He said the objectives of SONA are twofold – to update the nation on the state of affairs regarding social economic status and to inform the nation about government’s agenda for addressing issues pertaining to economy for the ensuing year.
Namasasu praised President Mutharika and his government “for steering the economy in the right direction even in the most difficult times” as the country has not been receiving budget support from donors and the economic growth has been hampered by adverse weather conditions.
“Despite the difficult circumstances, government has functioned properly including paying civil servants’ salaries on time. Government should be commended for working hard to pursue tight fiscal and monetary policies and for plans to align tax system with the nation’s development goals and the commitment to implement zero net domestic borrowing and for being consistent in repayment of domestic debt at 1.5 per cent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP),” said Namasasu.
He also applauded government for ensuring that external loans are used to finance development projects that have high rate of return.
“Mr Speaker, Sir, with that agenda well followed, external debt repayment could be relatively less burdensome because, the loan proceeds would have developed the capacity for repayments hence the exchange rate risk and make the country in net positive. This is commendable,” he said.
Despite criticism from opposition that Mutharika’s address was empty, Namasasu said stressed that the President “eloquently and graciously” delivered his address and “demonstrated a sane and focused leadership in as far as determination in difficult periods is concerned.”
He commended government project to develop the shire valley irrigation scheme, saying with well-developed irrigation system, Malawi should be able to feed itself even in times of unfavourable weather patterns.
Namasasu also applauded Mutharika for putting the youth at the heart of his administration’s development agenda through various projects including; community technical colleges.
“Developing skills in the youths is not only to prepare them for the job market, but also to ensure that they are financially capable parents to care for their families. Additionally, youth skills development helps them to stay long in school and in a way contribute to controlling early parenthood and population growth,” said Namasasu.
On health, Namasasu said must be commended for planning to reduce drug pilferage through strengthening roles of health facility advisory committees and appealed to such committees to perform to the expectations of Malawians.
Commenting on education, Namasasu gave credit to Mutharika for ensuring that teachers’ salaries are paid on time.
“This is as a result of public sector reforms currently under way, in other words, decentralization of teachers’ salaries. I am sure it will continue to be the case. Expectedly, we should now have well-motivated teachers who dedicate their energies to their core work,” said Namasasu.
The lawmaker said Mutharika’s SONA met the core objectives of updating the nation on the state of affairs and informing on the agenda ahead.
He also said Mutharika’s address did show his decisiveness in building strong foundation for the economy and covered concerns of various sectors of society, the elderly and the youths, private sector and public sector, the economic growth and social sectors of the nation.
Namasasu moved a motion for the House to adopt the SONA.
His motion was seconded by MP Pemba Msusa (UDF—Mangochi Masongola who said President Mutharika for the efforts of coming up with the National Planning Commission.
He also commended the government for the interest it has shown in proposing to recruit 1, 412 medical personnel.
“This is a welcome development to the youth as well as alleviating the under staffing problem which is rampant in our health facilities,” Pemba said
The UDF lawmaker said government has made notable strides to bring back the lost trust of the donor community and called for the spirit of togetherness.
“Our national anthem for our nation spells out clearly the enemies of our country thus hunger, disease and envy. Mr Speaker, Sir, I therefore, urge my fellow honourable members of this august House to stick to the issues that will only bring productive development as they may discussing the State-of-the-National Address,” he said.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :