By Cedric Nkungula
Political and economic analyst say Malawians should momentarily remove their political jackets and work together to provide solutions in order to make the newly announced Social Economic Recovery Plan (SERP) bring about the much needed output bent at rebuilding the country’s economy.
In his address to the nation on Tuesday, President Lazarus Chakwera unveiled a comprehensive SERP – a long and short term blue print that is aimed at stimulating strategic parts of the economy with various interventions estimated at over half a trillion Kwacha over the next two years for the period between 2021 and 2023.
Political commentator Humphrey Mvula said now that the country has a tangible plan to help take the bleeding economy back on track, there is a need for concerted efforts to make the plan bring in the desired results.
“This is a crisis. The sad thing is that people only like to criticize whenever we have problems instead of giving alternatives. At times like this, people should learn to come together and be able to provide solutions for the sake of the country to move forward,” emphasized Mvula.
“The problem is we don’t want to do an appraisal of a program first. We just criticize. Let us look at this development positively because as a county, we now have a plan.”
Mvula hailed Chakwera for coming up with the plan, saying the president has proved all his critics who thought he had no plan, wrong.
“Obviously the president was providing answers to the opposition. He was providing a plan to answer his critics. They said he had no plan.
The president has answered that there will be a flurry of activities aimed at addressing the social and economic problems affecting Malawians. Because the country is burning, the president has spelt long and short term plans to bring back the bleeding economy back on its track. The good thing is that the president has come up with a plan, let us now see the implementation part of it,” Mvula said.
Economic expert Dr. Betchani Tchereni said the current economic turbulence is not unique for Malawi as all countries are undergoing the same.
He asked Malawians to be patient because alterations in any economic activity take time to bear fruits.
“The cost of living has gone up not only in Malawi but all over the world. It is not like the situation is unique only for Malawi. The most important thing is that action is finally here. For Malawians, economic activity does not trigger something within a short time,” said Tchereni
“The social economic recovery plan is very important for Malawi because it is looking at both short and long term solutions. Covid – 19 has done a lot of havoc and we needed a recovery plan to take us from there.”
Tchereni called on government departments to complement each other in the implementation of the plan.
“MDA’s must complement each other. If the implementation officers in different MDA’s work together, we will see the changes soon. If everyone can work together, I believe can see tangible things within three months,” he said
Unveiling the plan which includes various mitigating factors, Chakwera explained that Malawi economy is currently suffering from four wounds.
He said the first wound our economy is bleeding from is its structural limitations, for ours is an agro-based economy that has a narrow production base and a large informal sector and the plan proposes the expansion of agricultural production which includes stimulus interventions to support agro-processing, especially where there is a state of readiness to scale up production, deliver to existing foreign markets, and achieve import substitution.
The second wound, said the president, is the gross imbalance between imports and exports, as Malawi has been a net-imp…