Bakili Muluzi joins debt cancellation calls
Former president Bakili Muluzi has joined calls by some Members of Parliament pleading with the country’s bilateral and multilateral lenders to grant Malawi debt cancellation to enable the country to recover in the aftermath of Tropical Cyclone Freddy.
Speaking after he met UN Resident Coordinator Rebecca Adda-Dontoh on a courtesy call, Muluzi said after meeting President Lazarus Chakwera and agreeing to become goodwill ambassador, he took the opportunity to plead for the debt cancellation.
“Yesterday [Thursday] we met President Lazarus Chakwera and he briefed us about Cyclone Freddy. There are some issues that need to be addressed quickly, issues such as food, potable water, and others. But now on the issue of recovery, we have to look into that matter critically as well.
“I am saying for Malawi to recover, we need to be given space. I am talking about total debt cancellation and not rescheduling with regards to climate change. I will be arranging meetings with other donors in the country to discuss with them the issue of debt cancellation,” he said.
Muluzi’s call comes against Lilongwe South lawmaker Peter Dimba and Lilongwe Mpenu MP Eisenhower Mkaka raising the issue when Chakwera went to Parliament on Wednesday to present a report on the impact of the cyclone on Malawi.
The push for debt relief comes at a time Malawi’s public debt hovers around K7.9 trillion, with the government expected to cough K914.86 billion in interest repayment in the 2023-24 national budget.
Muluzi and former president Joyce Banda met Chakwera on Thursday where among others Chakwera asked them to use their international ties to seek assistance to help Cyclone Freddy victims.