The Economics Association of Malawi (Ecama) has said a fully established National Planning Commission (NPC) is key for economic policy formulation and implementation of the country’s development agenda to drive sustainable economic growth.
Ecama executive director Maleka Thula said this on Sunday in the context that since its formation, the NPC— established by an Act of Parliament in 2015 to formulate and review policies and strategic plans for national development and recommend resource allocation—does not have a director general.
He said now that the Vision 2020 is about to expire in two years time, it is important for the commission to have a fully functional secretariat to drive the formulation of a long-term development strategy that will drive the country’s development agenda in the next 30 to 50 years.
Thula explained that the agenda should take into consideration other regional and global development agenda such as Agenda 2063 and United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
“Therefore, the time for the commission to start their consultation regarding the successor strategy is now than later. Thus the need to have fully operational NPC can not be overemphasised,” he said.
Thula said despite the country having good policies and strategies, they have not translated into tangible implementable development activities to benefit Malawians.
In an interview on Sunday, Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Development Goodall Gondwe admitted that it has taken government long to recruit a director general for the commission.
But he said the commissioners have already identified someone for the position, adding that the potential candidate is currently with a UN organisation in Zimbabwe
“We chose one, but we are still negotiating on the salary. We are planning to meet the potential candidate this week,” said Gondwe.
He said after agreeing on the package, the individual will have to be confirmed by the Public Appointments Committee of Parliament.
The absence of a fully operational commission is negatively impacting on sustainable economic development planning for the country, according to Ecama.
Currently, the commission only has commissioners headed by socio-economist Professor Richard Mkandawire.
The National Planning Commission Act stipulates that the commission will be responsible for identifying Malawi’s socio-economic development priorities and formulating national vision and strategy, overseeing implementation of medium, long-term national vision and strategies, identifying and commissioning research. n