People who volunteer to go to war for their country do so to be given compensations such as salaries and free clothing.
When recruiting soldiers for the World War II, the Nyasaland Government used to tell the volunteers that after the war they would get preference in employment.
The zero-deficit budget would give less cause for grumbling if the Ministry of Information highlighted the rewards for accepting austerity measures.
It is not enough just to say we must be economically-independent.
The question is: What benefit does economic independence bring? Or, what would be the disadvantages of resisting the zero-deficit budget?
In other words, what would happen if we do not help ourselves when our traditional donors stop giving us aid?
The straight-forward answer is that we suffer some other kind of deprivation. Anything worth having requires effort. Is it not said that God helps those who help themselves?
The zero-deficit budget is a kind of self-help. Let us embrace it and the Lord will shower His blessing on us.
â€œThe second vice is lying,â€ said Benjamin Franklin â€œthe second is running in debt.â€
As with many other maxims, what the great American said was to the point only in certain circumstances.
Another American, an insurance magnate used to say â€œshow me a millionaire and I will show you someone who has used OPM.â€
By OPM he meant other peopleâ€™s money. In other words, most millionaires had to borrow capital from someone else or institutions to run their businesses.
In the situation in which Malawi is, Franklin deserves an ear. It is in unstable economic, social and political conditions that nations borrow recklessly to appease powerful lobbies and rent-seekers.
A wise nation learns from mistakes of other nations, but a foolish one does not even learn from its own mistakes.
Have we analysed how two or three decades ago we turned Malawi into a highly indebted country?
If we over-borrow hoping that our creditors will cancel the debt at some point, then we are not wise.
The European Union (EU) member States are reluctant to help Greece to get out of its economic challenges yet Greece is one of them, a fellow EU country. Do you think the EU can rescue Malawi when mired in debt?
We must stick to the principle of cutting our coat according to our cloth by revising our plans for university expansion.
Having established one additional university in Thyolo, is it prudent to start another one when the private and public sectors face financial constraints?
It is more urgent to diversify our economy both at the sectoral and macro levels than to build more universities.
We should put aside money to give scholarships to deserving students to study abroad in disciplines not provided in our universities. Even successful countries such as China send thousands of their students to foreign universities for advanced studies.
Priority should be given to resuscitating our economy so that it can create jobs for extra graduates that will come from existing universities.
Our politics is saturated with fault-finding. Let us become a nation of doers, for a change. We have been talking too much and too long.
Technocrats should be given a greater role in managing the economy. These are people who understand the intricate of macro economics and can give practical advice on what should be done to revive and invigorate the economy.