Finance Minister Ken Lipenga says he plans to propose austerity measures to the President and Cabinet to rein in on public expenditure and restore Malawiâ€™s economic stability.
Lipenga also said the new administration intends to review investments such as the Nsanje World Inland Port and the Green Belt Initiative in view of new developments and whether they represent value for investment.
Government has to take immediate steps to control expenditure and implement tough reforms to bring back the country to its glorious days when the economy averaged growth of around seven percent in the last five years.
Said the minister: “This will include taking another look at cutting both foreign and internal travel. How wonderful it would be if delegations on foreign trips consisted of only those people who will contribute to realising the objective of the trip.â€
Lipenga also said he will propose controls on procurement of vehicles and furniture in government which, according to reports, cost taxpayers hundreds of millionsâ€”enough to buy essential drugs for hospitals.
He said government will take a fresh look at the Malawi Growth and Development Strategy II and review proposed investments that either do not represent value for investment or have been superseded by new developments.
“For instance, I will be proposing that we ask ourselves which investments really reduce external transport costs and how can we capitalise on the new opportunities presented by the investment in the Nacala line by Vale,” said Lipenga.
Malawi in January signed a $1 billion (about K250 billion) agreement with Brazilâ€™s Vale to build a new 138.5 km railway line from Chikhwawa to connect with an existing line at Balaka and rehabilitate the 98 km line to Nayuchi. The Nacala line will help Malawi save up to $120 million (about K30 billion) in annual transport costs.