The National Planning Commission (NPC) says plans to grow the economy to a lower middle-class by 2030 may be eroded if Covid-19 pandemic continues increasing poverty levels and inequalities in the country.
NPC director of knowledge and planning Joseph Nagoli said on Wednesday that this is worrisome because economic gains are being lost instead of being sustained for sustainability of the growth path.
He said: “Our main goal is to grow the economy to a lower middle-income status by 2030. So these issues of increasing poverty and inequalities are not coming out as a welcome development.
“This is giving us an assignment on which interventions or recovery plans we can develop to ensure that we immediately take-off from this situation to an upper level, to bring a good background to achieve lower middle-income status by 2030.”
Currently the Commission is working on a 10-year implementation plan which will spell out initiatives and projects that will spur economic development.
The admission from Nagoli stems from
an NPC) policy learning meeting organised in collaboration with the Regional Strategic Analysis and Knowledge Support Systems for Southern Africa (ReSAKSS-SA) and Akademiya2063.
The semi virtual learning event focused on the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic on agricultural production, markets, trade, nutrition, and poverty in Southern African countries, with a focus on Malawi.
In his virtual presentation,lead researcher Greenwell Matchaya said many people expected the Covid-19 could have been over by now, but the pandemic still persists with new strains, hence; government should plan ahead.
He said Malawi being a predominantly agriculture economy, Covid-19 is dealing a heavy blow to farmers through market disruptions and price distortions based on demand and supply issues.
Matchaya challenged government to be vigilant in heightening the urgency for public policy intervention as about 70 percent of the country’s districts are more vulnerable to shocks, which puts government’s interventions off-balance due to compounded needs of the vulnerable citizenry.
Ministry of Agriculture director of planning Rodwell Mzonde agreed with study findings that due to Covid-19, prices were very low from February to March 2020 due to lack of sufficient demand for crops amid depreciation of incomes.
He said the studies will be used to inform measures to prevent Covid-19 spread in the country to safeguard economic well-being of the citizenry.
The study found that Covid-19 hampered the entire agriculture value-chain, from production to markets with prices declining where supplies were high and prices were high in areas with low maize supplies.
Agriculture production and commercialisation is the main pillar in the Malawi 2063 vision, a long-term national developmental blueprint which succeeded Vision 2020.