Minister of Tourism, Culture and Widlife, Michael Usi, says his ministry will play a critical role in creating jobs for the country to achieve its target of reducing unemployment in line with Malawi vision 2063, and that the focus should not just be on State House.
He said this on Thursday, December 16, 2021 when he presided over the launch of a Tourism Investment Masterplan at Sun ‘n’ Sand Holiday Resort in Mangochi, which his ministry has been developing for the past two years.
The minister said his ministry has enough human resources to be creative and to implement various projects that can help to create employment, particularly for the young people that are graduating from colleges and universities in the country.
He added that this is the reason why he has always encouraged staff at his ministry to be extra creative and to operate outside their typical thinking boxes.
He said the investment masterplan is a critical toolkit to help guide investors in the tourism industry, and in the process create the much needed jobs for Malawians. He added that it is important for members of staff in in his ministry to understand the master plan so that they should, in turn, be able to pitch and sell the same to various stakeholders including potential investors.
“The main aim of this workshop is to sensitize members of staff on the contents of the masterplan and the direction that the tourism sector is taking in the next 20 years. The workshop will thus develop a roadmap for rolling out a promotional campaign and launch of this milestone. As members of staff across all ranks, it is important that you must be the first people to be familiar with the Investment masterplan, since you are responsible for the promotion of the projects and are usually the first point of call for investors and developers in the tourism sector,” said the minister.
The plan has not only been aligned to the Malawi 2063, but also to the global, regional and national development policies, plans and strategies including Sustainable Development Goals (SGDs), African Union Agenda 2063, SADC Tourism Programme, National Tourism Policy, Eco-tourism Development Strategy and Domestic Tourism Marketing Strategy, according to Usi.
“It is an overreaching document, which covers all spheres of the tourism value chain, and also analyses the settlement patterns while developing an understanding of regional indicators that are driving the process of urbanization in Malawi,” he said, adding that it also reflects on key proposals for identifying the 10 tourism nodes at country level and linking them with infrastructure provisions and requirements.
Added the Minister: “We are all aware that Government prioritized tourism as one of the key sectors for developing our economy and I am proud that our sector has been adopted in the country’s long term vision, the Malawi 2063, as an anchor sector under the Urbanization Pillar for achieving its overall goal of ‘an inclusively wealthy and self-reliant nation’. The main goal of our ministry is therefore to ensure that we play our rightful role in meeting the aspirations of Malawi 2063.”
Usi also took a professorial tone to lecture the staff about the virtues of team work and love. He urged the staff to work as a team if they are to go far in achieving their targets, but added that character is crucial to achieving this.
“Interpersonal relationships are crucial in any work environment. You can be a very educated individual but you cannot achieve more if you lack a positive character. We accomplish a lot through working with others which is why it is important to love and respect one another regardless of your positions of authority at the Ministry,“ said the Minister.
Acting Principal Secretary in the ministry, George Masinga, thanked the minister for launching the investment masterplan. He also thanked the African Development Bank – ADB – for financing the project, saying it is a process that has taken 30 months to complete due to the Covid -19 pandemic.
The meeting started on a lighter note when the gathering broke into a ‘Happy Birthday’ song, singing to the minister who was celebrating his birthday on the same day. The Minister just smiled when he was asked to respond to ‘How old are you now’ in the song.
Former ST now Tourism PS
In a related development, the immediate former Secretary to Treasury, Chauncy Simwaka will be heading to the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Wildlife as Principal Secretary, a position previously held by Isaac Katopola, who left the ministry a few months ago.
Simwaka was unceremoniously booted out of Ministry of Finance and replaced by seasoned economist, Dr. Mafuta Mwale as the new Secretary to Treasury, Mafuta Mwale was working at the Reserve Bank of Malawi (RBM) and at one time he served as Chairperson for Silver Strikers Football Club, which is sponsored by the Central Bank.
The reasons for Simwaka’s removal as Treasury Secretary and subsequent transfer to the Ministry of Tourism have not been made clear but it is alleged that there were growing concerns among staff that the former TS is self-centered and could not relate well with colleagues at Ministry of Finance as well as his boss, the Minister of Finance, Felix Mlusu.
However, those who are in the know warn that if he the former ST carries that attitude forward to the Ministry of Tourism, he will find it difficult to work with Usi, as he is a stricter and no-nonsense workaholic who shoots from the hip.
“Usi demands more and the best from the people he works with, and reads memos line by line. I would want to believe that these allegations around Mr Simwaka are not true, but if they are true, he will certainly find it hard working with Michael Usi,” said an insider at the Ministry of Tourism who did not want to be named.
The same transfers have also seen Peter Simbi being appointed as the new Comptroller of Statutory Corporations. Simbi replaces Nwazi Mnthambala, who is now Secretary for Industry.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :