Unpacking SONA :APM Underlines Malawi’s Resilience In The Face Of Global Economic Trends, Assures Malawians Of Good Times Ahead
The address which drew huge ratings on listenership and viewership both at home and abroad summarised into few pages a whole lot of policies and programmes that have been implemented since Professor Mutharika came to power in 2014.
Chief among areas of focus, he discussed the Economy, Food Security,Water, Energy, Education, Land Reforms, Public Sector Reforms and the Fight Against Corruption.
The President said he is optimistic that despite natural setbacks on the growth of the economy, the resilience shown by Malawians is good enough to turn the tide in no time.
“I am pleased to report that there is increased confidence in the country’s macroeconomic management. Given the improvement in the fiscal performance, which is evident from the fact that we are on track on the Extended Credit Facility arrangement with the International Monetary Fund, it is expected that better weather conditions during the coming growing season will help to establish a robust macroeconomic situation, as well as the resumption of high growth,” he noted.
Malawi has for the past two years faced
poor climatic conditions that have had a devastating effect on the production of both food and cash crops, thereby reversing any economic gains achieved up to the early part of 2015.
These effects saw the downgrading of GDP growth of 6. 2 percent in 2014 to 3. 2 percent in 2015. It is estimated that the figure for 2016 will be pegged further down at 2. 8 percent.
The erratic rains have had an effect on food production, a thing President Mutharika said should not worry Malawians as his government has already put in place sound measures to make everyone food secure.
“Government, in collaboration with its partners is in the process of sourcing relief food for all food insecure people.
In our medium to long term measures, we are breaking the cycle of food insecurity using the National Resilience Strategy which Government has developed. This plan outlines strategies that will be implemented to break the vicious cycle of food insecurity for the next 5 years,”
According to our records, the country has about 300,000MT of cereals earmarked for humanitarian support, which is enough to cover the affected communities until March 2017. The country’s Strategic Grain Reserve (SGR) has been restocked with about 113,000 Metric tonnes of maize.
On fighting corruption President Mutharika said his government remains on track to create a viable society void of any corrupt traits.
“Corruption still remains a very big challenge, and therefore, the fight against corruption remains a key priority for Government. In spite of whatever challenges, we will continue to fight corruption at various levels. Fighting corruption is the only way to ensure that the resources allocated for development are used for their intended purpose. This fight needs concerted efforts of different stakeholders,” he said.
The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP)- led government has in the past two years brought for prosecution 50 cases related to Cashgate and corruption, 13 of which have already yielded successful convictions.
APM also touched on infrastructure development, a sector he said has seen construction of a good road network across the country, school blocks and hostels, power generation stations, health facilities and water systems among others.
The President’s address brought timely reassurances to Malawians at a time when global economic trends are creating a ripple effect towards small economies.