The Surveyors Institute of Malawi (SIM) has joined calls for the country to have a development bank to promote infrastructure development and grow the economy.
For some time now, government has indicated that it wants to establish the Malawi Development Bank to provide a cheaper source of capital for infrastructure development.
Speaking during the third leg of the Pre-Budget Consultation Meetings in Mzuzu on Friday, SIM president Ellen Nyasulu said the country is failing to develop because most locals lack the financial muscle that can only come with the introduction of a development bank.
“Interest rates from commercial banks bar Malawians from developing. Bring in the development bank for the real estate to grow,” she said.
According to Nyasulu, foreigners own more structures in the country than the locals as they have a source of capital.
She said the profession has been left out in the country and faulted government for not involving surveyors in projects from the beginning.
Nyasulu told the gathering that the country has less than 20 land surveyors, less than 50 quantity surveyors, 35 land economy surveyors and less than 30 urban planners, licensed to sign certificates.
In his response, Secretary to the Treasury Ben Botolo said Cabinet already decided on development bank project.
He said as the bank requires huge capital from within, other quarters are advocating for the use of the pension funds and source funds from other institutions such as African Development Bank (AfDB) and World Bank and other institutions that have idle funds.
“We are working on that principal at the moment. Although it might not be established this year, but something might come up towards the end of this year as we are making some necessary steps to come up with the bank,” said Botolo.
In July last year, Reserve Bank of Malawi (RBM) Governor Dalitso Kabambe said government was planning to establish a development bank to fill up the gap in the financial market.
The country’s financial market is largely made up of commercial banks that offer short-term loans at interest rates considered to be prohibitive.
Ministry of Finance, Economic Planning and Development officials were last week engaged in pre-budget consultations with the first held in Blantyre last Tuesday and the second one in Lilongwe on Thursday.
Every year, fiscal authorities consult stakeholders that include Economic Association of Malawi, Malawi Confederation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry, Institute of Chartered Accountants (Icam) and Malawi Economic Justice Network (Mejn) to solicit their input before the budget is formulated. n