Nnesa attacks PP: Malawi needs an exit strategy on fertiliser subsidy

President of the opposition Malawi Forum for Democracy (Mafunde) has lashed out at the ruling People’s Party (PP) for sticking to farm input subsidy program which he says cannot take Malawi towards economic prosperity.

Speaking on Capital FM radio during the newly introduced weekly program known as ‘The Candidate’  aired on Wednesday evening, Nnesa who is also the parliamentarian for Balaka South Constituency in southern Malawi, said it is unfortunate that political leaders Of PP are now busy touring rural areas and busy giving people handouts while the country’s economy is in shambles.

“For example if the current PP government was stable and wise enough to see that people are suffering because of devaluation, they would have first sort out the economy for the political stability of the country,” he said.

Nnesa cited an example of the first term of former president the late Bingu wa Mutharika, saying, “he  was not into politics, he was not global trotting but what he was doing was to put the country’s economy into its place and that is why in 2009 elections we gave him more than 67 percent of votes.

Nnesa: The subsidy has become a political tool
Nnesa: The subsidy has become a political tool

“So what I am saying is that some of us are not typical politicians, so the best we should do is just to bring Malawi’s economy into right track”.

He said it is unfortunate that the government is still giving people fertilizer subsidies, in which the government is spending a whooping K57 billion.

“I am one of the MPs who don’t believe that the subsidy program can help in ending the country’s poverty. Many Malawians have been working in the fields using an axe and hoe for many years but nothing is changing. I believe that we should commercialize farming. If we could have may be 3,000 big farmers they could feed all Malawians and then establish factories that would process those farm produce and export them”

He said countries like South Africa and Zimbabwe, have been feeding their people through commercial farming not small scale farming, saying the fertilizer subsidy is not sustainable in the long term.

“We need an exit strategy from subsidies because the money we are spending on the program is not in any way helping the government move forward because rural people have become very dependent on subsidy and this is not promoting any economic development.

“And I am hearing some political leaders saying they won’t remove subsidy and also our president said she will reduce the price of subsidized fertilizer further to less than K500 [per bag of 50kg]. Then this means that it will be free of charge. Can Malawi afford to spend all such big sum of money [K57billion]?”

Nnesa argued that Malawi is capable of progressing, but that it was the “never ending politicking” that was letting it down.

Recently representatives of the Economics Association of Malawi, a forum of economists in Malawi and other interested parties also asked government authorities to consider moving away from subsidy program saying is bringing nothing towards the country’s economic recovery drive  as only few people enjoy the short term benefits of the program.

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