Government, private sector and development partners yesterday agreed to work together to resuscitate the country’s economy.
This will be done by revising development plans to align them with the Covid-19 Social Economic Recovery Plan (Serp) and Malawi 2063.
Vice-President Saulos Chilima yesterday met the private sector and development partners, a task sanctioned by his boss President Lazarus Chakwera in December to ensure their buy-in.
Chakwera in December launched the two-year plan running from 2021 to 2023 and comprises catalytic short and medium-term strategic interventions with long-term considerations that will enable Malawi to recover and build back better from the adverse impact
In an interview after the meetings, Chilima, while describing the outcome as fruitful, said the government will first introduce social economic impact programmes in the 2022/23 National Budget that will directly lessen economic pain that Malawians are going through.
He said the plan is for everyone to participate in.
Chilima said: “The plan is there. Some things are already work in progress; we will isolate work in progress and see what is left for funding. We take note of the feedback as far as the economic situation and the cost of living is concerned.
“Times have changed in terms of the global economy and, therefore, we must respond accordingly. For instance, while there will be ups and downs in the price of fuel which will impact fertiliser and commodities in general, what needs to happen now is to come up with programmes that will put money into people’s pockets.”
He said in the President’s State of the Nation Address and the 2022/23 National Budget, to be presented next month in Parliament, government commits to come up with comprehensive programmes that will accelerate economic activities both at constituency and district level.
“We are aware of the economic hardships and next is to prescribe solutions and I am 100 percent certain that the next budget statement is going to go in that direction so that we can begin to alleviate the pain that Malawians are facing and experiencing,” said Chilima.
Chairperson of diplomatic missions in Malawi Sofie Geerts, who is also deputy general representative of the delegation of Flanders, said they are geared towards supporting the recovery plan.
She said: “We will firstly analyse our ongoing and planned projects that we have already negotiated with the government in the past years. We will analyse how the projects and programmes are already contributing to the recovery plan.
“We will analyse whether it is possible to rechannel or realign our programmes to the recovery plan and we will do this together with the National Planning Commission [NPC]”.
On the need to pump more resources in line with the emerging recovery needs in Malawi, Geerts admitted that it was hard to rechannel the resources, but they will discuss with their headquarters on how best to support the country.
She descr ibed the Malawi 2063, Malawi Implementation Plan I (MIP-1) and the Serp, as bold policy documents that can transform Malawi and they believe it is possible to achieve the targets with their support.
United Nations acting resident coordinator Rudolf Schwenk said they are delighted to be included in the recovery plan, especially the invitation coming from the Vice-President, which shows strong will of the government to implement the plan.
“As the United Nations, we are fully committed to supporting the implementation of the plan, but it is the government who owns the plan. As development partners, we have our limitations obviously, but together we can see how we can adjust, how we can reprioritise, to do strategic shifts,” he said.
Standard Bank plc chief executive officer Phillip Madinga, as one of the participating private sector players to the meeting, said the bank will provide expertise in advisory, structuring and financing, including facilitating onward lending to SMEs to jumpstart businesses.
Serp seeks to lubricate the country’s development wheels as the country takes off to achieve its development aspirations espoused in the Malawi 2063 Vision (MW2063), a new development agenda.