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Ecama plans audience with Peter Mutharika on economy

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The Economics Association of Malawi (Ecama) plans to seek an audience with President Peter Mutharika to discuss solutions to rescue the economy to be agreed by members of the Association during this year’s annual conference.

Among others, Ecama is worried with growing inequality in the country which has seen the gap between the rich and poor widening over the years.

President of the Association, Henry Kachaje, said Ecama will discuss what policies need to be put in place so that the gap does not continue to grow and thereafter appraise the President on the resolutions made to move the economy forward.

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The annual conference is scheduled to conclude today in Mangochi.

Kachaje said over the years, the Association has noted that economic growth has not been trickling down to the poor and vulnerable, leaving only a few benefiting from development.

Resolutions made at the conference are expected to be put in actionable form and shared with government and other stakeholders.

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“Traditionally, we produce a communiqué which we then send to key decision makers, top on the list is the Head of State,” he said.

Kachaje described the gathering as the right forum to discuss policy interventions needed to propel economy on a positive trajectory but he said if gaps exist, they need to be addressed by implementers.

“As a body, all we do is to facilitate discussions but implementation remains in the hands of our key stakeholder, the government,” he said.

Earlier, some economists said government needs to stop relying wholly on prescriptions made by international bodies on how to bring the economy back to financial health when solutions to the challenges facing the country are within the country.

The experts said economic policies need to be made by Malawian economists and not foreign institutions if they are to succeed in turning around the economy and be sustainable in the long term.

Retired Economics Professor, Ephraim Wadonda Chirwa, said government is accountable to Malawians and as such should stop relying on advice from abroad on how to run the economy when Malawi has many trained economists who are ready to offer advice to government.

Chirwa says government should instead make use of the vast economic knowledge present in the country by consulting trained economists as well as the Economics Association of Malawi who are better placed to complement government efforts to nurse the economy back to health.

And Chancellor College Economics Professor, Ben Kalua, described the government’s insistence to make economic decisions based on agreements with institutions such as the International Monetary Fund as an unsustainable way of running Malawi’s economic affairs.

Kalua says Malawi should be looking at long-term solutions which are in the best interests of Malawians.

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