President Peter Mutharika has once again pride himself for turning around the economy of Malawi the five years he has been governing after he inherited empty coffers in 2014.
Mutharika, an international and constitutional law expert, has told Independent Media of South Africa in a published exclusive interview that he inherited a bankrupt state as a result of the infamous Cashgaate scandal where graft, corruption and cronyism were the order of the day.
“I inherited a bankrupt state, and over the last four years we have worked hard and tirelessly to turn things around. We have put stringent measures in place, ensuring that the law works and we hold those who were responsible accountable,” said Mutharika as quoted by Independent Media.
The President said when he took power in 2014, he had to deal with devastating floods, a famine and a foreign-aid freeze.
“We managed to clean house, and rebuild using our own resources,” he says.
Detailing the road to economic recovery, Mutharika painted a chilling picture of how widespread corruption had put Malawi on the brink of collapse, on its way to being another typical failed state as a result of greed as well as power mongering by politicians and government ministers who used their positions as proxies in order to enrich themselves.
Mutharika explains that the tentacles of corruption had tainted various organs of the state, the media, civil society and even the judiciary.
The President said his administration has been able to work collectively to stamp out corruption.
“In government we have established integrity units and reformed the laws and Public Finance Management Act to make it extremely difficult to steal money from the government. This includes establishing law enforcement agencies and an anti-corruption unit which works independently along with the financial intelligence unit and director of public prosecutions.”
Mutharika said the results are coming out “as people are being convicted” warning that “more heads are expected to roll.”
The Malawi leader prides his administration of taking import cover from the lowest point to the highest point in Malawi’s economic history and also raised economic growth above the Sub-Saharan and IMF global average growth.
Hesaid inflation has dropped from 24% to a single digit of 9%. Interest rates have been dropped from 34% to 16%, with relative stability for more than two years, allowing the country to grow exponentially with massive infrastructure projects relating to health, education, agriculture and power supply in the pipeline.
Mutharika is of the view that tremendous progress has been made where many poor people are starting to gain access to dignified housing. Over the last four years, his administration has built over 20 000 houses for the poor.
“We have changed our mindset psychologically. When I took over in June 2014, a third of the country was washed away; many houses were built out of mud with grass thatches. Donor funders were providing 40% of the financial resources to ensure that people had a roof over their heads. There was hunger and 8 million people were food insecure. We had to turn things around and find a solution. To some extent we are still donor dependent but we have managed to run the country without donor support for four years.
“However, for our development budget, we need some support to build infrastructure and ensure industrialization so that we can begin to grow. We need five more years and coming from the Cash-Gate scandal, it may take a bit longer. We need support in the areas of development and building infrastructure and other aspects of the economy. In five years or so I believe that Malawi can be self sustainable and we will not need donor support in the following five or six years after that,” he said in quotes reported by IOL.
Mutharika said he has learnt to lead Malawi with “a passionate determination” to take it out of poverty and is upbeat to deliver.
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