President Peter Mutharika has acknowledged that Malawi has always been good at planning but implementation has often been the problem.

NPC’s Thomas Munthali presenting papers to President Mutharika

He said this when he had an audience with the country’s the National Planning Commission (MPC) on Thursday at Kamuzu Palace where the President recalled an earlier meet he had with the Commission during the visit of Professor Paul Collier.

“But today, we are meeting with a more focused mission as we define our national direction,” the President said. “Let me begin by emphasizing that the Public out there holds this Commission in very high regard.

“Malawians now know that we are going to have far-sighted, objective, consistent and well-coordinated planning.

“For a long time, this country has always been good at planning. We have always had good ideas. But implementation has often been our problem.”

Mutharika said he expects this problem to come to an end once and for all as there is no point in planning if the country’s technocrats can’t implement what is being planned.

“By the end of the day, the most important things in life are the things that get done,” the President said. “As a country, we have a lot of work to be done. And the sooner we get down to work, the better for us all.

“I want Malawi to move from a low income country to a middle income country. Let us remember that our ultimate goal is to create wealth and improve the quality of life for Malawians.

“In the end, every community in Malawi should have these seven essentials — sufficient food; clean water; health facility; electricity; access to a tarmac road; a good secondary school and a community technical college.

“The question is: how do we create wealth to make Malawi a middle income economy?

“First, we need to make Malawi a producing and exporting country and stop being a predominantly importing and consuming country. This is our vision.”

President Mutharika continued to say in order to make Malawi a producing and exporting country, there is need to address the critical forces of production.

“We need to have a skilled labour force and a knowledgeable society. This is one reason why I want every community to have a secondary school and a community technical college.

“We need to create new capital for most Malawians. This is also why we are encouraging foreign direct investment.

“Locally, we have the resources. We have the assets. What we need is to turn our resources and assets into capital.

“However, we need a positive mindset to drive our collective efforts towards our goals. We need to instill the spirit of patriotism, integrity and hardwork.

“We cannot get anywhere with a negative mindset. Let us plan to change the national mindset systematically.”

He gave his confidence to National Planning Commission, saying like all Malawians, he has much faith in it.

“I should urge the Ministry of Finance to ensure that this Commission is properly funded. And let me say this: we should never make the mistake relegating the funding of this Commission to donors.

“We will lose control of our planning the moment we do that. If this Commission is to implement our homegrown policies, then we must take full responsibility of it. Let us make it our priority.

“I believe you have been doing a lot of thinking and brainstorming, let me take this turn to listen to your views,” Mutharika said.

NPC is emphasizing the need to aim at prioritizing wealth creation in the development of Vision 2063 agenda for the country, as said by Director General, Dr. Thomas Munthali at the Vision 2020 Review Validation workshop held at Crossroads hotel in Lilongwe on Tuesday.

He said the country need to focus in the productive sectors of tourism, mining, commercial agriculture; manufacturing and urbanization if the new vision agenda should be meaningful to the country’s development process.

Munthali pointed out that wealth creation was key cardinal issue to addressing poverty level among rural communities saying resources should be more available to facilitate the process.

“We had few challenges as country when we were implementing the Vision 2020 because we were heavily dependent on donors for their support which was not even adequate to drive the Vision and at the end of the day the country was plunged into huge debts which were difficult service,” he said.

The development of new 2063 Vision agenda should take into account lessons and experiences from the implementation of Vision 2020 whereby framers of the successor Vision would have a wide scope of issues.

“We engaged an independent consultant to thoroughly evaluation Vision 2002 implementation so that they should give us fair and accurate assessment on its performance. We need to critically report the report and come up with new strategies which will be beneficial to the country,” Munthali said.

He said the development of the successor Vision requires the involvement of all stakeholders to raise issues which need to be taken on board for its proper implementation.

Meanwhile, Premier Consult Team Leader, Prof. Oliver Saasa said the implementation of the Vision 2020 had some challenges and there is need to iron out the gaps when developing the new successor Vision.

He said the Vision was formulated to turn Malawi into a middle income country but it has failed to grow the economy in order to attain the aspirations.

“We need to look at several sectors as we are trying to find out why as the country we have failed to develop those sectors. We need to compare with our neighbouring countries on how we have been performing to develop,” Saasa told the media.

He said there is need to encourage political will to do things different and spearhead private sector participations in the economic development of the country.— (Additional reporting by Tione Andsen)