Members of Parliament (MPs) on Thursday endorsed National Planning Commission’s quest to craft a long-term vision that embraces wealth creation as opposed to short-term poverty alleviation plans that have not worked.
The endorsement follows a virtual consultative meeting the NPC organised in Lilongwe titled The Emerging New Vision for Malawi which attracted attendance from the Speaker of Parliament Catherine Gotani Hara and chairpersons of various parliamentary committees.
The planning commission’s chairperson Richard Mkandawire said the meeting was part of the consultations over the crafting of the National Transformation 2063 Vision to succeed the Vision 2020.
He said as representatives of the people, legislators, through their respective political parties, should begin to align the long-term National Transformation 2063 Agenda when developing their political party manifestos.
The Speaker of Parliament said Malawi should avoid making the same mistakes as exemplified in the Vision 2020 that was just on paper without any significant results because it was not people-centred.
Said Hara: “Parliament will be involved in the new vision to provide an oversight role in the implementation of the vision to ensure it bears fruit as intended.
“Malawi should graduate from being a poor country to a middle-class economy as we chart the new Agenda 2063.”
Phalombe Central legislator George Million (Independent) called for mindset change beginning from parliamentarians to achieve the wealth creation agenda.
He observed that the majority of legislators still believe in giving handouts to electorates, saying in 2019 when Parliament was debating and passing the Political Parties Act which bans handouts, most parliamentarians did not seem to support the provision.
His Karonga South counterpart Uchizi Mkandawire (Malawi Congress Party, MCP) said population growth should be tackled in the new vision as overpopulation is weighing down growth of the economy.
He said: “With reasonable population, the resources can better be managed to suit national needs.”
On his part, Chiradzulu West legislator Mathews Ngwale (Independent) said the vision should be followed by introduction of policies that encourage joint investment ventures between foreign and local investors to ensure Malawians are empowered through skills sharing.
NPC director general Thomas Munthali said oftentimes parliamentarians are under pressure to deliver within their five-years in office, which makes them look at short-term projects that are done sparsely as they seek re-election.
Said Munthali: “We should plan long-term so that if a regime moves out of government, a successor regime should continue the projects knowing that it is for national good.
“We are glad that members of Parliament support the long-term vision and the need for mindset change. We will have targets in the new vision and periodic reviews to ensure we have a follow through in implementation process.”
He said unlike the Vision 2020, the new vision will heavily be publicised to ensure that locals take full ownership by understanding the importance of self economic reliance.
The new vision has key pillars which include agriculture productivity and commercialisation; industrialisation and mining as well as urbanisation and tourism developments.