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Growth target not enough, Icam says

Sosten Gwengwe

By Justin Mkweu

The Institute of Chartered Accountants in Malawi (Icam) has said that government’s projected 4.1 percent economic growth is not ambitious enough to propel industrialisation of the country and see it out of poverty.

The accountants’ body was commenting on the National Budget Statement delivered about two weeks by Finance Minister Sosten Gwengwe.

According to a statement from the accountants’ professional body which follows a virtual discussion of the budget, Icam says the expected growth rate cannot tilt Malawi towards attaining its medium-term aspiration of becoming an upper middle-income economy by 2030.

“The projected growth rate at 4 percent may not give us enough space for the industrialisation that we want. We need a growth rate of over 6 percent if we are to become a middle income country by 2030,” says the statement signed by Icam Chief Executive Officer, Francis Chinjoka Gondwe.

Overall, Icam says the budget is practical if among other things, the government recruits competent accountants and passes into law the Financial Management Bill which the body believes will help instill discipline when implementing the budget.

Delivering the budget statement in Parliament, Gwengwe said focus of the 2022-23 budget is on recovering the economy from effects of the Covid pandemic, among other things.

He added that the attention will also be paid on fiscal consolidation, public debt management, fiscal discipline, export diversification and import substitution as Malawi promotes local manufacturing.

“With the launch of the Malawi 2063 and the First 10-year implementation plan, our country has renewed its commitment to the attainment of the lower-middle-income status by 2030. We, therefore, need to learn from the past challenges if we have to charter the desired path to our destination,” Gwengwe said.

Malawi wants to be a wealthy and self-reliant industrialised economy by 2063 in line with aspirations of the Malawi 2063, a long term national development blueprint.

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