Word on the street is that, if you are rich in this country you must be a thief. Well, who can fault such thinking when most of the fat-cats around us, especially politicians are busy helping themselves with absolute abandon under APM’s watch to what Malawians have put together.
The economic environment also is such that you cannot make genuine money from a business. You cannot be a billionaire in this country unless you have stolen from the public. That’s the word on the street.
But I can tell you, that there many of us who are not millionaires but we do make our money through honest means. Every week, I read and edit stories about entrepreneurs. Recently, a young entrepreneur told Weekend Nation that he has been trying to explain to Malawians how he became rich.
He was an accountant, but joined his father to import and export goods. Before long, he started his own firm and a year later he was driving the latest car in town and his account number one was fat indeed.
Another, a woman started off selling tomatoes, she saved her earnings to start a cross-border business, four years later she was supplying stationery to government. Today, she has a mansion in Lilongwe, travels to China and Dubai for business almost every month.
Another businessperson of Malawian of Asian origin runs a popular restaurant in Blantyre. The eatery was opened by their grandparents many decades ago. They had natured it, grown it before the building collapsed some years ago. He has not given up on the business, he has put together some savings, rebuilt the business and today, he is serving customers chips and chicken again!
Why am I saying this? You see, we on the streets still believe that Malawians are a hardworking people. The evidence is in Finance Minister’s 2017/18 National Budget Statement which was delivered in Parliament last Friday. For the second year running, Malawians will fund the budget!
Total revenue and grants is planned to be at K1 1 trillion which is equivalent to 22.3 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP). Out of this amount, K980.3 billion will be domestic revenue raised by you and me.
Even purse-keeper Goodall Gondwe is happy with how we are funding his budget. He said: “The momentum of taxes displayed in 2016/17 financial year is expected to continue into 2017/18 such that taxes are estimated to amount to K900.8 billion.”
Now, ladies and gentlemen, K900.8 billion is not a small amount, but we have to raise it. We will do so by hard work not corruption.
It will be hard work because, to do business in this country is not easy; the buying power is too low, unemployment is too high, the amount of interest charged on loans is excessive, interest on saving is low, the procurement and tendering procedures favours the rich and the connected, electricity is erratic and taxes are way too high. Yet we still strive and make our money in peace. That’s why I dare say, we are not all thieves.
But we have a few individuals who have ruined this country because they think to make money, you have to make it from government. “I can’t do a genuine business, it will not work out,” they say. To these corrupt people, I challenge them to listen once again to what Gondwe said in Parliament last week:
“It should be pointed out that this county’s potential is far from being exploited fully and that with good policies and sound economic management of the resources, the required hardwork from all Malawians and institutions, there is no reason why [our development targets] cannot be reached… Therefore, as we launch yet another new phase when the opportunity to attain robust sustainable growth rates is opening up, the House should decide to insist that policies that maintain macroeconomic stability particularly to fiscal discipline, be sustained. The leadership should spend more time on developing the country than on personal welfare. This should be the anchor of their workload.”
The integrity of the upright guides them, but the unfaithful are destroyed by their duplicity.– Proverbs 11:3.