Outgoing British High Commissioner, Michael Nevin, has said growing the country’s economy requires a more private sector-led approach, which reduces State dominance and allows non-State actors to operate without fear of political interference or pressure.
According to Nevin, this would result in less State-led “tendernomics” economy and less political interference, thereby giving room for more private sector doing.
Speaking Friday evening in Blantyre during celebrations marking the Queen’s 90th birthday, Nevin also urged reforms in the private sector to complement government efforts.
Said Nevin: “Perhaps the greatest help government and the Reserve Bank of Malawi can give to the private sector is to create a stable macro-economic environment. The recent trends on inflation, fiscal discipline and borrowing are encouraging, while requiring further discipline to sustain the momentum.”
He disclosed that more British companies are interested in investing in Malawi’s energy sector, urging government to move quickly and capture this interest by creating an enabling environment for businesses to flourish.
Given that the Malawi economy is agro-based, Nevin also urged government to fix distorted markets and incentives, including amending the Control of Goods Act to encourage more growers to grow and export their produce.
He also advised the private sector in the country to reform.
In an earlier interview, president of the Economics Association of Malawi (Ecama), Henry Kachaje, urged government to do more to help the private sector.
“Unfortunately, for some time we have remained in a very volatile economic environment characterised by very high interest rates, high inflation, and high cost of borrowing which are impediments to private sector growth. These need to be addressed,” said Kachaje.
But speaking during the opening the 2016/2017 budget meeting on May 20 in Lilongwe, President Peter Mutharika said his administration continues to implement the National Export Strategy to build the economy’s productive base.
“During the 2016/2017 financial year, government will continue implementing reforms in order to enhance Malawi’s attractiveness as an investment destination. The reforms will now include reviewing the regulations to establish Export Processing Zones, which will in turn facilitate the promotion of industrialisation,” said Mutharika.
According to Mutharika, the reforms will also attract private investment, which is necessary for economic growth, job creation and poverty reduction. n