The much-talked about Malawi Economic Recovery Plan (Merp) which government launched on Friday has outlined a set of immediate, short and medium term policy reforms aimed at restoring the external and internal economic stability.
According to the 15-page document, immediate policy reforms have a timeframe of three months while short and medium term policy reforms have a period ranging from one to five years before the anticipated economic stability is realised.
The plan, which government described as urgent in the wake of worsening economic situation in the country, has also proposed measures aimed at cushioning the poor from the impact of economic reforms, especially the exchange rate policy adjustment.
The immediate policy reforms, according to the recovery document, include exchange rate adjustment, foreign exchange reserve cushion and fuel pricing adopted in May, soon after President Joyce Banda took over the reins of power from her predecessor, the late Bingu wa Mutharika, who opposed any form of exchange rate alteration.
Flipping through the highly-touted economic blue-print, short term reforms include social support package and a budget framework which prioritise expenditures to sectors that are deemed to enhance economic growth and boost production, among others.
The social support package, according to the recovery plan, include the scaling up of labour intensive public work programme, Farm Input Subsidy Programme (Fisp), School Feeding Programme and the continuation of the Social Cash Transfer Programme.
â€œEconomic reforms normally bring unintended negative socio-economic impacts on people which need to be mitigated,â€ acknowledges the recovery plan, signed by President Joyce Banda.
The plan, however, says it is expected that economic challenges gripping the country will stabilise in the medium term.
The recovery plan has, however, put more focus on five sectors namely energy, tourism, mining, agriculture and transport infrastructure and information and communication technology (ICT) as anchoring sectors.
â€œGood governance in the implementation of this plan will play a critical role in achieving social and economic development of the countryâ€¦it will also promote rule of law, human rights and guarantee property and personal rights which attract private sector investment,â€ adds plan.
Ministry of Economic Planning and Development, according to the plan, has been mandated to provide strategic direction for the economy while the Office of the President and Cabinet (OPC) will provide an oversight and supervisory role to ensure that the plan is implemented effectively.
It also says donors and cooperating partners are expected to provide technical and financial support for its implementation to ensure that the country moves to prosperity.
Vice-President Khumba Kachali, who officially launched the plan, said the document was discussed widely and has incorporated recommendations from the conference on the national dialogue on the economy that took place in Mangochi in July this year.
â€œWith determination and focus, Malawi will be turned into a wealth nation as has been the case with the other best practice countries,â€ he said.
In his address, Minister of Economic Planning and Development Atupele Muluzi said Merp will be implemented in the context of the second Malawi Growth and Development Strategy (MGDS).
Muluzi said the implementation of the two strategies will be mainly through the national budget.
â€œIn this regard, budgetary allocations will be aligned to economic growth sectors but without losing focus of the social needs of the country,â€ said Muluzi.