Governmentâ€™s initiative to put in place a mechanism to rescue our economy is commendable.
It is, however, saddening to note that government is also making decisions that are in contradiction to the Economic Recovery Plan (ERP).
So far, shortfalls have been observed in ERP. For instance, it has already been said that ERP is not specific in most areas.
But what is more worrisome are contradictory actions being taken by government.
One notable contradictory action government has so far made is the intervention in the fuel pricing mechanism implementation.
On fuel pricing, ERP clearly states: â€œOver the past years, government has been controlling fuel pump prices. This meant subsidising fuel when international prices rise and thus accumulating deficits in the Price Stabilisation Fund (PSF); hence, posing a risk to the budget. To eliminate this risk, the country returned to automatic pricing mechanism (APM).â€
The forgoing statement is clear on the effect of controlling fuel price.
It is sad to note that within a short time of APM implemention, government chose to contradict its own plan.
As usual, Malawi Energy Regulator Authority (Mera) was pressurised to find a reason for the fuel price hike reversal so that the powers that be within government should not be seen to have â€˜remote-controlledâ€™ the professionals at fuel regulatory body.
One may only conclude that politicians do not learn from past mistakes.
This is a clear indictor that government is not committed to ERP.
It is also sad to note that in the interest of keeping their jobs, professionals go ahead making decisions they know are wrong. Then one questions whether they really are professionals.
Malawi Confederation of Chambers and Commence and Industry (MCCCI) warned government against contradicting its own plan.
MCCCI has defined Mera action as a clear interference by government in the bodyâ€™s operation.
It is like a patient guardian who tampers with a drip of quinine in a hospital ward, an action which threatens patientâ€™s life.
What it means is that governmentâ€™s action will only bring more uncertainty to businesses and this may make Malawi unattractive investment destination.
This interference in the fuel pricing is a carbon copy of what government was doing with the foreign exchange rate i.e. fixing the exchange rate.
One may only conclude that governmentâ€™s interference in the fuel price implementation was solely made on political grounds.
Government may have done this to gain popularity. One thing is clear, government may postpone the price implementation, but one day, it will be implemented in full and this will bite ruthlessly the same way the delayed devaluation of the kwacha has bitten us.
It is too soon to start making policies that run in conflict with ERP.
One cannot agree more with the argument by Dr Greenwell Matchaya made that our government seems not to understand problems the country is facing. As a result, one may agree with people who say government is in a trial and error business.