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Banks say economic outlook remains mixed

Mcfussy Kawawa

Bankers Association of Malawi (Bam) has reiterated the need for quick fixes to some challenges facing the local economy, saying the future remains murky.

Among other things, the commercial banks’ umbrella body is praying for a possible quick Extended Credit Facility programme deal between the government and the International Monetary Fund to help ease forex woes the country is facing.

Apart from the forex challenge which has crippled importation of essential commodities such as fuel, Malawi’s economy is faced with myriad challenges including rising inflation, volatile exchange rate, high interest rate and power woes.

Speaking on Friday on the side lines of Annual Bankers Dinner, Bam President, who is also Chief Executive Officer for Malawi Stock Exchange-listed National Bank of Malawi, MacFussy Kawawa said there was a need for concerted effort towards addressing the problems.

“The future doesn’t look that inspiring but we have to remain hopeful that things will get better. Certainly, before things get better, they will probably going to get a bit worse and we get into the lean season,” Kawawa said.

Addressing the gathering earlier, Kawawa said the banking community remained resilient amid the economic volatility but “if we have some hardship that entails that even the banks will not stand, then there is no hope for a country’s economy.”

African Development Bank Country Manager Macmillan Anyanwu said the multilateral development finance institution expects economic growth to remain subdued.

He then hailed the banking sector for remaining resilient amid the harsh economic environment, but was quick to warn that threats to financial stability persist amid inflationary pressures from global supply chains disruptions, combined with elevated energy and food prices rise.

“While we all hope that the recent shocks that our economy has recently experienced are a once-in-a-lifetime crisis, we need to remember that disruptions to businesses are inevitable.

“Once we are back on our feet financially, we need to take some time to prepare ourselves for future shocks and worse-case scenarios,” he said.

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