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‘Avoid politics on IMF negotiations’

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MKANDAWIRE- Let us speak with one voice

Church and Society of Livingstonia Synod of Church of Central Africa Presbyterian (CCAP) has asked officials who would take part in negotiations with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) mission team to avoid politicizing the talks but rather work on convincing the team for an Extended Credit Facility (ECF).

The human rights and governance arm of the CCAP church said the current economic turbulence Malawi is facing was partly caused by natural disasters and global economic impacts.

The society’s Executive Director Moses Mkandawire made the remarks yesterday at a press briefing in Mzuzu calling on the negotiating team to speak with one accord.

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Mkandawire said officials that are meeting the IMF team should forgo their political affiliations and concentrate on national building Malawi.

“All Malawians must work together, let us not look at political colour leading. The issue we have with the IMF, needs us to move with one voice, be it government, members of civil society, political parties and including colleagues from the private sector.

“Let us engage the IMF and bring back the ECF that was cancelled, I think, years ago, because currently we do not have forex. We can be granted that certificate from the IMF so that we are in the system and work on our economy,” Mkandawire said.

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Among others Mkandawire suggested that the government should phase out the Affordable Input Program (AIP), saying it is draining a lot of resources including foreign currency.

But Ministry of Agriculture spokesperson Grecian Lungu said the government has no plans to phase out AIP, arguing the country’s economy is driven by the agriculture sector and most of the forex is generated from agricultural produce.

“AIP is one of the agricultural programmes that contributes a lot in the generation of forex and on the other hand improving food security as in the case of food insecurity, the government can be forced to use a lot of forex in importing maize,” Lungu said.

The IMF delegation is expected to arrive in the country tomorrow.

Meanwhile, Information Minister Gospel Kazako has assured the governance arm that government will not be political with the discussions.

“They take comfort from the fact that the  Chakwera administration has high levels of ability to distinguish between government and politics,” he said.

Secretary to the Treasury Macdonald Mafuta Mwale told the media recently that the IMF meetings are aimed at helping the team understand the context of the state of business operating environment.

Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs Sosten Gwengwe told journalists at a press briefing in Lilongwe that in line with the prospective new ECF, the government will undertake bold economic reforms and warned Malawians that it would take time before the economic pain eases.

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