The adage which says, ‘failing to plan is planning to fail’, is indeed applicable to Malawi at the moment. Believe it or not, under the DPP led government Malawi has faced its worst economic woes in its 47 years of independence. Even the government and its leadership are aware of this fact. This is why in a bid to save their face, both the Minister of Information and Civic Education and the Presidential spokesperson are ready to down play any criticism levelled at government.
One wonders whether or not they are aware that their defence is overdone and it now no longer makes much sense. It does need any special knowledge to know that the majority of Malawians are suffering in one way or another.
The sad state of affairs on the economy can mostly be blamed on lack of planning as well as failing to identify the bed rock of the economy.
President Mutharika and his government might blame the global economic crisis to have caused the situation in Malawi. Honestly, one cannot buy this argument because a number of neighbouring countries within the region are doing much better than Malawi despite the world wide economic problems.
It is not an exaggeration to say that no one (including those in government) knows where the Mutharika government is taking this country to. Both the present and the future are so bleak. The problems which range from shortage of medicines in hospitals to fuel shortages are so immense to the extent that it becomes difficult to even comprehend that there is a government in place. The country looks as if it is just recovering from a war situation and a government is yet to be put in place.
Meanwhile, the obvious fact is that most of the problems are caused by lack of forex. One can remember so well that when President Mutharika came into power in 2004, one of his pledges was to promote production especially for the export market. In this regard various factories were expected to be set up. So far it seems there was/is no plan for this. Instead the country continues to depend on tobacco to generate forex.
It is laughable to see that the government does not even realise that tobacco production is now a dying industry. The low prices at the Auction floors is due to the fact that the government has failed to find markets for the tobacco crop. The situation has been made worse after President Mutharika deported one of the main buyers. The President’s tough talking on the deportation gave people force hopes that he was to find a better alternative to buy their crop.
While failing to generate forex is bad enough, what is even worse is the fact that the government seem to have had no plans to put up measures to control the outflow of forex. What is mind boggling is that the country just woke up one day and found that there was no forex.
A million dollar question is, ‘Why did the government not institute some control measurers on the use of forex?’ Controlling foreign travel now to save the non existent forex does not need a genius to know that it is too little too late. This is like, having great ideas on how best to use money when all the money has already been lavishly spent.
Some people can argue that despite the various problems in the country, a credit must be given to President Mutharika for producing enough maize for food. Fair enough. But it has now just been proved that running a government successfully does not mean just having enough maize. It is mere common sense to know that having a full stomach is meaningless when one cannot access medicines in government hospitals. All this boils down to lack of proper planning.
Meanwhile the government tries to fault, donors, opposition parties, government critics, Civil Society Organisation leaders and other for the economic problems in the country. Needless to say that this attitude of looking for scapegoats is a clear sign that the government has failed to plan and consequently has planned to fail. Sadly, Malawians are on the receiving end!
Emily Mkamanga Email [email protected]Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :