The author went further to provide advice to the newly sworn-in President, Her Excellency Mrs Joyce Banda. Due to space limitations, we could not present everything last week. We hence provide the last part of his advice.
…â€˜This column is about personal finance management but there can be no resources for individuals and households to manage if the Malawi economy is in shambles. This is where my advice begins with you, Your Excellency, fully aware that you have prioritised the need to restore the economy.
To begin with, let me mention that this countryâ€™s economy is built on four legs: Donorâ€™s good will, agriculture, Malawiansâ€™ goodwill, and Godâ€™s favour. This is my well researched assessment, Madam.
First, the moment you fall off with donors, you are in for big trouble. Yes, donor money comes with all strings but the beauty is that, serve for a few outrageous demands, it all reflects on the priorities defined by Malawians in their own development blue printâ€”the Malawi Growth and Development Strategy. What donors need most is value for their taxpayers money. This is a test you shouldnâ€™t fail, Your Excellency. The reason is simple: Malawi will need donors in the short to medium term. However, efforts to gradually move towards economic independence are a must because begging can be demeaning and dehumanising. But the word to watch is â€˜gradualâ€™.
Secondly, agriculture is the backbone of this country. But let me hasten to add, that it is hitherto rain-fed agriculture. This is worrisome. If no tangible strides are made on intensifying irrigation (or green-belt initiative), and diversifying into other sectors like mining and tourism through public-private-partnerships, then Malawi will continue to face unstable tax and foreign exchange inflows.
Thirdly, Malawians are a friendly lot (hence the warm heart of Africa), but they donâ€™t like being taken for granted, especially when it comes to realising their God-given rights. When stretched to a limit, they hardly retreat. If you govern them well in practice and not in mere promise, they will give you the mandate to run the full course. By the way, paying attention to governance issues is not only important in its own right, but is also critical for sustaining donor inflows. This impacts on the economy.
Lastly, and indeed most important, is the continued fear of God. This will allow you to see visions. Visions on how to move forward with the economy. Visions on the economic diversification agenda. Visions on how to govern people in the best way so that their hopes and aspirations are met. There are many Malawians of goodwill that are and will incessantly pray for youâ€”just never stop to listen to that small still voice of divine reason.
Having said all this, Madam President, surround yourself with very competent experts and God-fearing advisors. But more importantly, give them space and listen to them. Oh! Do also remember not to throw away the bath water with the babyâ€”there are lots of good policies and initiatives in the economy that the Bingu administration initiated. Seek Godâ€™s wisdom and counsel of the experts on which ones are good for the country to retain.
Once again, may the soul of Professor Bingu wa Mutharika rest in peace! The mighty have fallen. To my beloved State President, congratulations again, the health of peopleâ€™s personal finances begins with you. My familyâ€™s love and prayers are with you, Your Excellency.
Have a blessed week-end!â€™