Malawi President Joyce Banda on Tuesday said IMFâ€™s approval of a $156.2 million (about K42.7 billion) loan arrangement with Malawi under the Extended Credit Facility (ECF) is a good development.
The President, who was opening the National Bank of Malawi (NBM) business centre and office complex in Blantyre, said the decision by IMFâ€™s board of directors announced Monday night is good news for both Malawi and the banking sector.
Banda said the IMFâ€™s decision is in line with her administrationâ€™s plan for quick economic recovery.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) said it approved a new three-year loan arrangement under the ECF to address chronic balance of payments problems, improve the outlook for poverty reduction and boost growth.
The fund said it would immediately release $19.5 million (about K5.1 billion) to Malawi. The new loan provides support for an economic programme based on Malawiâ€™s Growth and Development Strategy (MGDS II), according to an official press release.
Banda said IMFâ€™s gesture will make other development partners to open up aid taps for Malawi.
The President said NBMâ€™s magnificent building has transformed the face of Blantyre City. She encouraged construction of other such infrastructure in the city and hoped this would also match with quality of service delivery.
Banda, who was joined at the function by former president Bakili Muluzi, MCP president and leader of the opposition in Parliament John Tembo, Speaker of Parliament Henry Chimunthu Banda, Cabinet ministers and other opposition leaders, urged the banking sector to be accommodative and empower small and medium entrepreneurs, particularly the youth, whom she described as potential drivers of the economy.
During the function, NBM donated K10 million towards the countryâ€™s Safe Motherhood initiative. Banda immediately announced she would forward the money to a project in Ntcheu, where Senior Chief Kwataine and others are struggling to build a structure for the Safe Motherhood project.
Banda said the country needs fuel, food and national security, bemoaning that productivity went down under the previous administration due to, among others, fuel scarcity.
The ceremony attracted dignitaries that included corporate chief executives, the clergy, the academia and ruling party followers and officials.
Muluzi, who was indisputably the centre of attraction before the President arrived, was seen interacting with almost everyone, from Vice-President Khumbo Kachali to Tembo, Henry Phoya, Chimunthu Banda and Chief Secretary to Government Bright Msaka.