President Peter Mutharika has given his state of the nation address (Sona) in Parliament on Friday to mark the official opening of the Budget session and said he is delivering what he promised to do in his first five-year term despite not being supported by donors.
“Mr. Speaker, Sir, my Address this year is on delivering sustainable development.This is the title of my Address. My message is simple. We have delivered to the people, and we will continue delivering,” said Mutharika in Lilongwe.
Mutharika said four years ago when he assumed the office of the President after defeating Joyce Banda, the country had a broken economy, stagnated projects and smashed hopes.
“Today, we have the economy fixed, confidence regained, projects moving, and hope rising,” said upbeat Mutharika.
“Those of us who are proud of our nation should celebrate our economic efforts as a country. We all know that nothing works when the economy doesn’t work. And we know that a working economy is the beginning of a prospering nation,’ he added.
Mutharika said his government has delivered both micro and macro economic outlook.
He told the August House that there is now a clear sense of economic direction and that the nation can count its achievements .
”In general, we have achieved macro-economic stability, inflation reduction and a rebound in economic growth,”he said.
Mutharika said the International Monetary Fund has just given the vote of confidence for approving a new Extended Credit Facility for the next three years.
“This means the IMF is satisfied with our economic management, ” said the Malawi leader.
Mutharika said Malawi is making history, pointing out that in 2014, the country had a deficit that nearly equaled annual national budget saying after three years his government worked had turn around the economy from the devastation of cashgate, and through national disasters of floods, drought and hunger.
He said four years ago, inflation was at 24 per cent but now it is on a single digit .
“Four years ago, interest rates were at 25 per cent. Today, interest rates are at 16 per cent. We have taken our foreign currency import cover from the lowest point to the highest point in our economic history. From an import cover of below 2 months, our import cover now stands at 6 months. Our local currency is now stable and predictable,” said Mutharika.
On whether the economic data have a trickle down effect to the citizenry, Mutharika said the “answer is yes! “
He said: ‘’Our progress does not mean all people are economically equal. That does not happen anywhere on earth. The point is: there are signs of progress with more people participating in the economy to create their own opportunities.’’
Continued Mutharika: ‘With the state of our economy, our business community find it easier to access forex for smooth cross-border trade. For two years now, prices of fuel have not risen. Consumers tell us prices of many goods in shops and fares of buses have been stable.
“There is more business in construction materials because Malawians are building more than ever – and you can see this all around us. Malawians are buying more cars than ever because more and more people can afford a car. You can see the rising population of vehicles on our roads. You can see the rising demand for fuel as new filling stations are rising everywhere.
“In our villages, you can see more men and women constructing modern houses with iron-sheets. In our communities, you can see young men buying motorbikes because now they can afford. These motorbikes are transforming the transport system in rural communities.”
Mutharika said there is a “quiet economic revolution” slowly happening among Malawians.
He said his administration has proven that Malawi can rise and shine “if we work with patriotism, integrity and hardwork.’’
Mutharika, who has indicated will seek a second term in office during next year’s elections, said: “We have tried and proven that we can transform this country.”
The President also said his leadership has proven that it can make Malawi a prosperous nation.
“Now, let us move with that conviction,’’ he concluded.
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