People’s Party spokesperson on Finance John Chikalimba has said extreme poverty remains widespread in the country and accused government of painting a rosy picture of economic growth when people are still impoverished and suffering.
His remarks comes at the wake of a report commissioned by the African Development Bank (AfDB) states that poverty stands at 56.6 percent.
Responding to 2018/19 Mid-Year Budget Review Statement Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Development Goodall Gondwe delivered in Parliament, Chikalimba said Malawi economic growth statittsic should not be on paper only but it should be seen on the ground.
He said: “Poverty remains a big development challenge particularly in rural areas. So, it is very important that we transfer this from the paper to practice on the ground. The pace of economic growth has not been inclusive and sizeable enough to create significant decent jobs and reduce poverty. We can only talk about growth of economy when there is creation of jobs and not just jobs but decent jobs, for that matter.”
Chikalimba continued: “Mr Speaker, Sir, one in every two households in Malawi is living in poverty. Apart from poverty, the majority of population including children face extreme vulnerability due to a combination of food insecurity and unemployment and everybody bears witness with me. In our areas, because of this poor management of finances, there is a big cry in each and every home.”
The 2019 African Economic Outlook Report has also painted a gloomy picture of Malawi’s poverty levels, showing that poverty remains widespread nationwide.
Worse still, Malawians’ incomes, according to the report, are very low, with GNI per capita of $360 (about K263 000) in 2016. GNI per capita is the dollar value of a country’s final income in a year, divided by its population and reflects average income of citizens.
Further, the report, states that inequalities are acute and rooted, with a Gini coefficient [measure of statistical dispersion intended to represent the income or wealth distribution of a nation’s residents] of 0.46 in 2010 and .44 in 2014.
It reads: “[In Malawi] Poverty remains widespread at 51.5 percent nationwide in 2017, up from 50.4 percent in 2010, particularly in rural areas [56.6 percent]. Extreme poverty is high, largely because of food insecurity.
“Incomes are very low, with GNI per capita of $360 in 2016. Inequalities are acute and rooted.”
Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Development Goodall Gondwe is on record as having acknowledged the threat that inequality poses to the goal of attaining sustainable development.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :