Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Development, Goodall Gondwe, has said Malawi will soon establish the National Development Council through an Act of Parliament to enable development to continue even when there has been a change of government.
He was speaking in Lilongwe on Wednesday after taking part in a high-level forum on development organised to see how Malawi moves forward as it approaches the end of the second Malawi Growth and Development Strategy (MGDS) in June next year.
“We will be doing a number of things in a foreseeable future. We will be starting a National Development Council that is going to be independent to decide what sort of long-term view of development is going to be and any government coming will have to be governed by what this think tank would have decided,” Gondwe said.
“We hope very much that this plan will work. We will set it up through the Act of Parliament, which means that it will have the force of law,” he added.
Gondwe said there is no doubt that Malawi has adequate domestic resource potential to finance its development programmes and become a middle-income country, just like Botswana and Kenya.
He said this is the more reason Malawi needs to start reflecting on its next development plan that should take it to the next level.
“As we do this, we have to be aware of the emerging global consensus on the Post 2015 agenda for development namely the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). However, as we make the transition from Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) to the SDGs, we must decisively declare that it is possible for Malawi to make it into the middle-income category,” Gondwe said.
The Finance Minister also said until recently, the cooperation debate was too centred on Official Development Assistance (ODA) at the exclusion of Foreign Direct Investment and Domestic resources for both public and private.
Head of Department for International Development (DfID Malawi) Jen Marshall said Malawi needs to speed up its progress to transform towards self-reliance and also transform the economy so that everybody has a job, food security, and income and that public services can be delivered.
“The meeting today was really an important step forward as it brought together a range of stakeholders. Everyone has to take part in developing this country instead of leaving it in the hands of the development partners alone,” she said.
“Everybody recognises that these meetings cannot just be talk shows. It really has to turn into actions, one of the critical recommendations that we have just agreed in the outcome document which means that Malawi needs to speed up to take action, to implement reforms, to implement Malawi’s development,” she added.
She said what matters is what the country does next.
Malawi Confederation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (MCCCI) Chief Executive Officer Chancellor Kaferapanjira said one of the challenges is the inconsistencies in government policies from year to year.
“You know governments keep changing and sometimes there are conflicts within government ministries as well. So, we were making proposals to government that for Malawi to be self-reliant we actually need a thriving private sector and with policies that are legislated and also with having an overall body to take care of all national development projects,” he said
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