Tembo raps Malawi Pres. Banda on economy, agriculture

Leader of Opposition and president of the opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP) John has trashed President Joyce Banda’s speech, accusing her of giving out contradictory information and also lying to the nation by saying that the country’s economy is on the right path.

Responding to the state of the nation address on Monday afternoon, which President Banda made last week Friday when she officially opened current 2013/14 national budget meeting of parliament, Tembo accused the Malawi leader of not telling the truth on economic matters affecting Malawians.

“People in this country are going through some of the most turbulent economic times that we have never seen in this country since independence. Economic outlook does indicate that we are likely to be in this state for some time. But, there are no quick fixes to the economy,” he said.

He wondered why President Banda  told the nation that the government expenditures was within target  while during the 2012/13 mid-year budget review the government provided financial reports indicating that it had overspent.

Tembo also quizzed government authorities to explain how they will manage to reduce inflation to 7.4 percent from the current high inflation figures.

Tembo: Critiques President Banda's speech
Tembo: Critiques President Banda’s speech

He also asked the government to explain how long the kwacha currency will continue appreciating against the major currencies and that they should come in the open and tell rural Malawians how they will benefit from the appreciation of the kwacha.

Tembo in his his 40-minute speech asked government “to walk the talk and find quick fixes to economic challenges” facing the country.

“It is unjustifiable to be asking Malawians to be patient and endure the economic hardships when they see our leaders, day in day out, living as though they are in different country where our hardships are not felt.”

The Leader of Opposition also noted that agriculture has been marginalised “even though everyone agrees that Malawi’s economy is agri-based.”

On maize situation, Tembo said: “I expected that the state president’s address to the nation would comment or give explanation on what happened for over 30, 000 metric tones of maize to rot on our silos at a time when the nation was facing serious maize shortage across the country.

“Furthermore the nation should have been told how much fertilizer we imported from Zambia in order to cover the maize deficit we were experiencing, and how much maize was exported to neighbouring countries that contributed to the maize shortage in the country,” he said.

Tembo said “the government is silent on what action it has taken to address this problem so that it should not occur again. What disciplinary action has the government taken against those responsible for this national tragedy?”

He  nonetheless applauded the President for trying her best during the last 12 months although he said government could have done better on spending practices such as “splashing money unnecessarily even during political rallies.”

In her speech, President Banda said her government will enhance irrigation and livestock farming.

Banda added that her government would also establish a special loan scheme for farm inputs called Farm Input Loan Program (FILM). This, the president said would be a public private partnership programme where private sector will offer loan facilities for inputs to deserving and qualifying farmers so that production of maize and other crops is scaled up and enhance the country’s food security, household incomes and export earnings.

In addition, President Banda said she will continue with some of the programmes that she has started citing a cow a family project and the two crops programme.

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