President Peter Mutharika has maintained that his government has made progress in improving the economy to improve the welfare of the people and that life is improving for most Malawians as they can afford to buy a car.
In his New Year’s message, Mutharika said Malawians must have a reason to look forward to and make 2018 a year of hope but said there is no easy walk to progress.
“Progress is a long mountainous journey climbed step by step. And little by little, we are getting somewhere,” he said.
Mutharika said most Malawians are having quality life and have the luxury of owning a car.
“More than ever, I am seeing new cars on our roads – and Malawians have a high sense of taste. More and more Malawians can now afford to buy a car,” said Mutharika.
He said with the growing number of cars, new filling stations employing young men and women are rising everywhere as “ signs of a growing economy.”
Mutharika said according to Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA), the country has been importing 3,526 vehicles per month in 2016 and the number has risen in 2017.
“This is happening because we have reserved enough forex as a result of sound economic management,” said Mutharika, while patting himself on the back for managing the country’s economy without donor budget support.
“Currently, Malawians are buying and importing 4,047 vehicles per month. This means we are regaining our confidence to spend. Most people have the confidence to spend their excess cash,” he said.
Notably, he said, the mode of transport is changing in most rural communities as many people can now afford motorcycles as they migrate from the bicycle.
“Everywhere, young Malawians can now afford to buy a motorbike while in the village. We are moving away from kabaza to the motorbike as a mode of transport in most communities. This is a revolution coming slowly but surely,” said Mutharika.
The Malawi leader said people’s housing is improving in rural areas and grass thatched houses are being phased out in most villages of the country.
“Slowly, the rooftops of our villages are changing. In many villages, grass-thatched houses are slowly disappearing. From the sales of tomato, I have seen women buying one iron-sheet after another.
“I have seen them carrying iron-sheet after iron-sheet on their head or on the bicycle to build a descent house for themselves. These Malawians demonstrate to us that progress is slow but achievable. They understand the patience of developing a nation,” he said,
Mutharika said he confident that “ the Malawi you see today is not the Malawi you will see in five years to come.”
The President said this year he will ensure the economy grows further to benefit more people.
“We have managed the economy through economic shocks of national disasters. We survived national floods, drought and famine for two consecutive years,” he observed.
The country’s economy has risen from 2.7 percent to 6.4 percent of real Gross Development Product (GDP) growth. Inflation has also fallen to the single digit of 7.7 percent.
The Reserve Bank of Malawi (RBM) also recently announced the reduction of the policy rate from 18 percent to 16 percent and Mutharika said he expects commercial banks to follow suit and reduce their lending rates.
“This will make borrowing money from commercial banks cheaper and easier. I want a farmer, a teacher, a nurse, a soldier, a policeman or policewoman to walk into the bank and walk out with a loan that can build him or her a house somewhere,” he said.
Mutharika also said he wants make Malawi a producing and exporting country and bring in more foreign direct investors in 2018.
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