Amid concerns of the rising cost of living in the country, President Lazarus Chakwera has challenged Malawians to join his government in reviving the country’s economy.
The Malawi leader said this in Mangochi on Thursday during the opening of the annual conference for the Economics Association of Malawi (ECAMA).
Chakwera said his administration inherited an economy which was on a death bed as a result of poor governance, cycles of
natural disasters occasioned by climate change impacts, months of post election political instability, and waves of Covid-19 pandemic.
The President, was however upbeat of a resounding economy rebound saying his government is working around the clock to change the story, but said Malawians need to persevere as government takes on serious measures to rebuild the economy.
While reiterating what he has been telling Malawian to endure what he calls temporary economic hardships, Chakwera has called on Malawians to be brave just like the fallen soldiers who selflessly laid their lives for change to come during the 1st and 2nd World War.
“Like theirs, ours is a time that requires substantial and permanent changes to Malawian society. Like theirs,
ours is a time that requires widespread citizen involvement in the solutions we effect to defeat the four enemies that have left our people impoverished, ” he said.
Chakwera said governance maladministration, economic unproductivity, systemic corruption, and global inequalities are what have led the nation to the current state of affairs, but his government is tirelessly working on improving livelihood of people in the country.
“If we are to ever become a self-reliant and inclusively wealthy middle-income economy as envisaged in Malawi 2063, then it is against these enemies we must gird
ourselves and mount a valiant fight. Not only must this fight be mounted across all government institutions, but it must be mounted across our society by the widespread involvement of all citizens in behaviours and activities that push us closer to our destiny of shared prosperity.”
The President added: “The good news is that there are signs that the interventions we are taking are yielding fruits and that domestic economic recovery is underway.”
The head of state has also said the country needs inclucivity if the economy is to grow as such, the youth and women ought to be incorporated in the national economic development agenda.
Speaking earlier Malawi Vice President Saulos Chilima urged commercial banks in the country to trim interest rates saying exorbitant rates are milking Malawians too much.
Chilima, also challenged that deposit rates that banks are giving customers are too little (at around five percent) as compared to lending rates which he said have averaged 23 percent.
He recalled that in 1980s, Malawi had only two banks and then lending rates averaged 19.1 percent while deposit rates averaged 11.5 percent, thus providing a spread of 7.6 percent.
“As the financial sector opened up, one would have expected competition to force the narrowing of the spread,” said Chilima.
Meanwhile, Chilima has proposed to Reserve Bank of Malawi (RBM) to consider capping the interest spread, stressing that if banks raise the lending rates, they must also pass-through the same to depositors.