President Peter Mutharika, who was declared the victor in the last month’s presidential election, is maintaining his script about his success in turning around the economy of Malawi after he inherited empty coffers in 2014 and that his second-and-final term he will ensure there is sound macro-economic environment to deliver rapid transformation.
The Malawi leader was speaking in the National Assembly on Friday when he delivered his State of the Nation Address (Sona) to officially open the new cohorts of Parliament after May 2 Tripartite Elections and their sitting which has been adjourned to Monday.
Mutharika won a second term with a narrow lead over Lazarus Chakwera, the candidate of the country’s largest opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP).
President Mutharika has been credited with stabilising Malawi’s economy after it was struck earlier this decade by “Cashgate”, a sprawling graft scandal that led to donors suspending aid to the state budget.
“Madam Speaker, a good economy brings a better life to everybody. And a good economy begins with a sound macro-economic environment. The story of the macro-economic foundations we set in the past five years is well known to us all. These are the gains we want to consolidate in order to transform Malawi once and forever,” said Mutharika in the House where MCP legislators boycotted listening to his speech.
Mutharika, an international and constitutional law expert, has said his government took painful steps to stabilize the economy and the currency, the kwacha, and brought inflation down from a peak of 27 percent to single digit and reduced interest rates by over half from 25 percent.
“We found our foreign reserves well below the international standards. We filled our reserves and made life easier for businesses.
“We found the economy broken. And we fixed it. We found the economy unstable. And we delivered a stable economy,” said Mutharika in a Sona titled ‘Consolidating our gains for rapid transformation’.
Mutharika said in his first term, he found a declining economy on the verge of bankruptcy.
“ We delivered a growing economy. A growing economy creates jobs and we are creating jobs,” he said.
“We brought down a rising inflation from 27 per cent to a single digit. Prices were too unstable for Malawians. And we stabilized prices for everyone. We found interest rates high and bank loans too expensive for Malawians. We brought down interest rates and made bank loans more affordable.
“Let it go down in history that we achieved this economic rebound out of a crisis and without donor budgetary support,” said Mutharika.
The President , who has appointed Joseph Mwanamvekha, an economist and former banker, as finance minister in his new cabinet, has promised economic growth and stability in his second term.
“In the next five years, we will create more economic autonomy by investing in production. We will invest more in production in order to expand domestic resource mobilisation,” he said.
Mutharika said in the past five years, his administration has proven that it is possible to create “economic autonomy” for the country.
“We have proven that we can create a growing economy and improve the quality of life for everyone.”
There has been concerns of post-election violence that it will impact on the economy but the President in response to the weeks of unrest has urged unity and calm while accusing the opposition of “mobilizing illegal demonstrations” and trying to cause chaos after the peaceful election.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :