Economics Association of Malawi (Ecama) has cautioned government not to attempt to implement all priority areas of the Third Malawi Growth and Development Strategy (MGDS III) which is estimated to cost about K8.6 trillion over a five-year period.
Contributing to the 2018/19 National Budget during the Lilongwe leg of the Pre-Budget Consultations Meetings yesterday, Ecamasaid not all sectors identified in MGDS III can be targeted given the limited resources available to the government and development partners.
“We fear the resources are not adequate to implement the whole wish list,” Ecama executive director MalekaThula said.
MGDS III has identified several flagship projects which the government and development partners hope will spur economic growth and reduce poverty in the key priority areas of agriculture, water development and climate change management, education and skills development, energy, industry and tourism development, transport and ICT infrastructure, and health and population.
The ambitious five year strategy includes flagship projects to cost about K3.5 trillion in order to scale up public investments.
These include Shire Valley Transformation Programme, construction of Mombera University in Mzimba, construction of coal-fired power plant at Kam’mwamba in Neno and expansion of the Limbe-Marka and Nkaya-Mchinji railway lines.
Ecama said government should instead focus on priority areas in agriculture, energy, health and education.
“Key priority areas in MGDS III need to be translated to implementable development projects in the 2018/19 budget,” Thula said.
On its part, Malawi Economic Justice Network (Mejn) said the competing priorities of 2018/19 budget such as planning for elections, rising unemployment and mitigating against food shortages should not prevent the government from including growth and strategy blueprints such as MGDS III and the African Union Agenda 2063.
Mejn executive director Dalitso Kubalasa said of the five priorities in the MGDS III, the overarching priority should be building a productive, competitive and resilient nation.
He, however, bemoaned the late disbursement of funds for government interventions and slow movement towards scaling up alternative sources of energy as some of the factors that could hinder realisation of the priorities.