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‘Further restrictions may cost K5 trillion’

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The National Planning Commission (NPC) has urged government to desist from implementing further social restrictions as mitigating measures against Covid-19 pandemic, saying it will be more costly to the country’s economy.

A rapid cost-benefit analysis published by the Commission recently indicates that the country is bound to lose K5 trillion ($6.7 billion) over the next 30 years, at the estimated present value of the country’s Gross Domestic Products (GDP), if further restrictions were implemented.

This translates into about K165 billion ($223 million) lost every year.

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The analysis argues that further restriction will only help the country save K168 billion ($228 million).

It recommends continuance of the status quo and sustainance of funding towards health services. Mitigation of education loss and opening of schools.

“There is a risk of significant loss of life associated with the disruption to health services. To ensure that long-term health and economic welfare is not heavily compromised, crucial areas should not see their funding cut when considering diverting resources towards fighting the Covid-19,” reads the report in part.

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In an interview NPC Director General, Thomas Munthali, added that the figures were reflecting on the impact of the disease as at mid-May but may change with developing impact trends.

In a separate interview, Economics Association of Malawi (ECAMA) President, Lauryn Nyasulu, concurred with the assessment.

“It is important to save lives but at the same time we need to be realistic on how people will survive because a lockdown will affect lives of majority of people and government cannot be able to support them so I agree with the findings but we still need to prevent the pandemic,” Nyasulu said.

Recently the IMF revised the country’s growth projections from five percent to 1 percent this year.

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