European Union (EU) Ambassador to Malawi, Marchel Gerrmann, and United Kingdom High Commissioner, Holly Tett, have said President Peter Mutharika’s plans and optimism need to be implemented for their fruits to be seen and felt.
Mutharika delivered a State of the Nation Address (Sona) at Parliament Building in Lilongwe Friday to mark the official opening of the 2017/18 National Budget meeting.
Observers say the statement was full of optimism on what Mutharika’s government has planned to do in the next financial year and beyond.
Both Gerrmann and Tett agreed with the observation but pointed out that optimism and having good plans on their own may not be enough if things are to change for the better.
Gerrmann said the government’s decision to agree with various reforms including the Financial Crimes Bill, the Land Bills and the Access to Information Bill last year needs to be buttressed with implementation of the same.
“I think this year will be a year of focusing on implementation, which is very important. Of course, we have to wait for the budget to see what choices the Malawi government has in relation to what has been planned,” said Gerrmann.
He added that reforms in the Farm Input Subsidy Programme (Fisp) like Mutharika had indicated, are something that the EU looks forward to seeing.
In a separate interview, Tett said Mutharika’s address created a very positive outlook of plans for development “but a number of things need to be addressed”.
She said corruption needs to continue being addressed and that there should be no sacred cows.
“Last week there was a conference on corruption. A lot of ideas were generated and we really can’t wait to see the recommendations come from the Ministry of Justice alongside an action plan on implementation. Like the president said, there should be no sacred cows,” said Tett.
She also said for economic transformation to become a reality, there are other pieces of legislation which must also be a reality, particularly those to do with governance.
“It is refreshing that the Public Procurement Bill, the Public Audit Bill and the Political Parties Bill will be coming to parliament. These are crucial in economic governance.
“I was also delighting to hear the president mention illegal wildlife trade as something that his government is concerned about. Malawi has a positive story to tell on this. You have set up an investigation unit which has led to increasing successful prosecutions,” said Tett.
In the address which lasted about one hour and 20 minutes, Mutharika spent some time to outline what he said are his government’s achievements and several development plans for the future.
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