Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Development Goodall Gondwe has said Cabinet is yet to discuss the proposed five new priorities for the new development strategy replacing the expired Malawi Growth and Development Strategy (MGDS) II.
Responding to an inquiry on why tourism has been excluded from the list of priorities, Gondwe yesterday said nothing has been decided yet; hence, tourism could be considered.
He said: “We have not yet concluded the process because I have to take the list of the priorities to the President and he will convene a Cabinet meeting where there will be further scrutiny.
“During the meeting, some priority areas might be removed in favour of others because issues of climate change are very crucial now.”
According to Gondwe, the country has given tourism a priority since 1958 but nothing has moved on the ground.
Minister of Industry, Trade and Tourism Joseph Mwanamvekha had earlier said the country has identified tourism as one of the priority areas to help boost the economy.
He said: “Our economy continues to be predominantly agro-based, but government has identified tourism as one of the catalysts that can provide revenue to complement the growing and competing demands for the economy.”
But when put to him that tourism was not among the five priority areas government is formulating, Mwanamvekha said he would take up the issue with “our counterparts at Finance” because the sector is integral to the economy.
Last week, Gondwe announced that government had proposed changes to the development strategy and identified five priority areas for the next five years instead of the nine areas in the last two MGDS blueprints.
The five priority areas contained in the new strategy include agriculture and climate change management; education and skills development; energy and industrial development; transport and ICT infrastructure; and, health and population.