Moving forward, Madam President, congratulations on your ascendancy to the presidency following constitutional order. I wish you well and success as you become the first woman to lead our nation.
It is a fact that our country, over the past three or so years, has been haunted by economic and political turmoil. In simple terms, Madam President, there is no honeymoon for you; hence, get down to work as soon as possible.
From late 2008, our country has been experiencing foreign currency shortages, the root of the never-ending queues for fuel and other basic commodities. Forex shortages have also seen thousands of people losing their jobs as companies scaled down their operations and also production dropped due to lack of resources to import raw materials.
Many Malawians learnt of the sad news of Mutharikaâ€™s death and your rise while on fuel or sugar queues on Saturday, hoping to get either of the commodities.
Tobacco remains our economyâ€™s major foreign exchange earner, but in recent years, the crop has been fetching low revenue due to poor prices. Donor inflows are the next major contributor to the forex purse; hence, resumption of aid inflows can ease forex shortages and, eventually, the country will have fuel, medicine, fertiliser and other necessities.
The challenge is for the country to get back to the derailed Extended Credit Facility (ECF) programme with the International Monetary Fund (IMF). It was encouraging to hear you tell the nation on Tuesday that some donors have indicated their willingness to give us some resources, albeit upon our fulfilling some conditionalities, especially on the governance front.
Good economics make good politics, so goes the saying. It is possible to turnaround the countryâ€™s economy and this can easily be achieved by “listening.” Your administration should listen to all and sundry, the mighty, the wise and the not-so-wise. Do not lend a deaf ear to citizensâ€™ cries as did your predecessor-administration.
For the record, Malawi, under Mutharika, registered some of its highest economic growth rates when the country had an economic programme with the IMF between 2006 and 2010. Today, the economy is on the downward spiral at a time we have no IMF programme. This is no mere coincidence!
It is time to do an honest soul-searching in line with the Public Affairs Committee (PAC) All-Inclusive Stakeholders Conference theme of â€˜Time to reclaim our destiny: Seeking redress to political and economic challenges.â€™