What's the way out, Mr President

Lazarus Chakwera

Malawi's President Lazarus Chakwera was quite candid in his press address on Tuesday, admitting that the nation is in a critical condition and is suffering multiple organ failure.

This is indeed true as prices of commodities such as cooking oil and fertiliser have gone up on the back of the recent fuel price increases among other triggers leaving the masses struggling to make ends meet.

As Malawians were smarting from all this, they were in for more shocks, VAT (more tax) was being introduced on non-banking services (it was all quite incoherent with government saying one thing and the Bankers Association saying another); water tariffs had also gone up, it was learnt.

Meanwhile, Malawi's insatiable appetite for imported goods has not relented, with it flies out the limited forex which has now sunk below the minimum threshold of three months. This is against a backdrop of lack of budgetary support partly attributed to the pulling out of the IMF's economic support programme.

All this is also compounded by the impact of the coronavirus pandemic which has not only devastated Malawi's economy, but those of other countries across the globe as well. Companies in Malawi ,in particular in the tourism sector have had to close down or downsize as employers struggle to meet the wage bill. This has meant that most employers have not been able to adjust their salaries of their employees upwards due to such distresses.

Well Chakwera acknowledges most of this but he blames it on the previous DPP administration from which he took over in 2020. The Malawi President says he inherited a broken tax system that failed the economy, a ruined public infrastructure system and crippling national debt to be repaid.

All this is true, sadly, it is not something Malawians have not heard before. Every incoming government blames the previous one, but the finger-pointing will not change things 

Malawians are asking the so what question? What will you do about all this Mr President? Malawians are looking for a clearly laid out recovery plan that goes beyond the tough talk.