An opposition politician has joined choruses of economists and donors calling on the government to abolish all subsidies, saying they are a harmful to the economy.
Mark Katsonga, president of People’s Progressive Party (PPM) said Malawi is probably the only country in the region with subsidies.
“It is only in Malawi where a child is born in free hospital, attends free primary school and drives in free roads,” said Katsonga in a recent radio interview.
He said the government is spending billions of money in the subsidies thereby harming the already ailing economy.
Currently the country has a K60 billion a year farm input subsidies to which treasury bankrolls farm input for subsistence poor farmers and a K7 billion Cement and Malata subsidy for decent housing for poor people.
Katsonga urged the government to abolish the subsidy programmes and instead create policies that would enable Malawians have money that they would use to construct their own houses.
Government is struggling to fund public hospitals as most of them have completely stopped provision of food for patients whilst ambulances have been grounded due to lack of money for fuel or maintenance.
At a high level meeting this week, stakeholders in the public health sector, that included donors, recommended to government to raise taxes on alcohol and cigarettes to raise money for the collapsing public health sector.
There were also calls for the introduction of fuel levy for the public health sector.