The United Nations (UN) has asked the Malawi Government to prudently spend tax revenue to end inequality and improve social service delivery in health, education and agriculture sectors.
UN resident coordinator Mia Seppo said this in Lilongwe on Monday evening during celebrations marking UN Day.
She said there was need for increased efforts to ensure that millions of people are lifted out of poverty and hunger.
Seppo also called for more action in the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) ahead of its deadline in 2030.
She cited the recent Oxfam report on inequality that focused on inequalities in the education sector, as a wake-up call and warned: “If inequalities are not addressed, then many Malawians will be left behind.”
However, Seppo said government should use taxes to provide social services, especially health and education to build capacity and ensure social and economic transformation.
She said: “Taxes should be used for the provision of basic public services—health and education—to build the human capital needed for social and economic transformation.
“Malawi already is above the median for low income countries in tax collection. Focus now needs to be on quality of spending, spending that improves and ensures access and inclusion.”
Seppo added that there was a need for Malawi to do more to empower women and the youth, end discrimination against gays and lesbians, stop attacks against albinos and end stigma against those diagnosed with HIV.
In his remarks, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Francis Kasaila said government will strive to attain SDGs by working closely with its partners.
He said: “The role of government would be to push for smart goals that synthesise action on residual Millennium Development Goals [MDGs] programme, and a progressive agenda, that integrates poverty eradication and sustainable development, as well as climate change, good governance and human rights.”
The celebrations focused on the countdown to the SDGs. n