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Economic experts for moratorium extension

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NKUNA—We are engaging stakeholders

Economic experts have asked the Reserve Bank of Malawi (RBM) to consider extending a moratorium on loan repayment in commercial banks and micro lending institutions and maintain reduced fees for digital transactions.

This, they say, will enhance resilience of various businesses and hoisting the larger economy as Covid-19 continues to wreak havoc on the economy.

Earlier this year the Central Bank influenced a reduction of digital transaction fees by 40 percent and a loan moratorium of three months among lending institutions.

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However, the moratorium ended in July.

Dean of Commerce at the Polytechnic, Betchani Tcheleni, said the worst levels of economic hardships are happening now therefore it is the best time to cushion the citizenry.

“If there is time that we have to respond to the effects of Covid-19 economically, it has to be now that the shocks happened some months ago and to say that things are normalising it is not true because this is now the time many people are suffering,” Tcheleni said.

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Chancellor College based economist, Exley Silumbu, concurred with Tcheleni stressing that people that lost their jobs and businesses that have been greatly affected by the pandemic should be considered.

In an interview RBM Spokesperson, Onelie Nkuna, said the Central Bank is still discussing the issue with the necessary stakeholders.

“The Bank is aware of the impact Covid-19 is having on ordinary Malawians as such it is trying as much as possible to expedite the process,” Nkuna said.

Meanwhile Airtel Malawi plc has announced a 50 percent reduction of transaction fees on cash withdraw services on its mobile money platform.

According to a statement issued by the company, the decision was made in order to make its services accessible and affordable to Malawians.

Effective Friday August 28, 2020, Airtel Money fees when cashing out at an agent will be reduced from the previous range of K20 to K12500 to a revised range of K20 to K7000. This will enable Airtel Money customers to transact at a cheaper cost and keep enjoying Airtel Money’s various services,” reads the report in part.

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