Malawi Confederation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (MCCCI) has advised Treasury to prioritise its expenditure towards mitigating further negative impacts of coronavirus disease (Covid-19).
In its survey on the impact of Covid-19 on businesses, MCCCI chief executive officer Chancellor Kaferapanjira said fiscal expenditure pressure is imminent due to higher expected spending in the health sector, whilst revenues are declining partly to slowdown in industrial and commercial activities.
Kaferapanjira said government and the Reserve Bank of Malawi (RBM) should have conversation with stakeholders especially businesses on how they can work together to curb the threat of the Covid-19 and ensure that the impact on businesses and economy is minimised.
He said: “Part of the expenditure should be in the form of provision of incentives to private sector which participate in the provision of health services in Malawi.
“The government should review the whole health system to ensure adequate services are available and accessible to its citizenry.”
Kafarepanjira said majority of businesses have been affected in areas of turnover, production, and availability of inputs, goods and services due to the Covid-19.
Treasury spokesperson Davis Sado in an recent interview with Business News admitted that the 2019/20 financial years’ unforeseen expenditure may not cater for everything but Treasury is carefully and closely monitoring the situation so that the country does not slip away from the economic giants we have made so far.
Meanwhile local investment and advisory firm Nico Asset Managers in its February Monthly Economic Review said several measures which will have to be taken in order to contain the virus and mitigate its overall effect will involve heavy expenditure on the part of government and ultimately put affect the implementation of the budget as well as a strain on the already fragile economy.
The virus has rapidly spread from China to European countries and the United States of America and it has also been reported in 44 African countries.
Though Malawi still has no confirmed cases, the country remains at risk and measures have been put in place by most countries, including limitation on travel into the country, school closure and a ban on public meetings with more than 100 people.