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ColumnsHitting The Nail

Hitting the nail: We will wait for May, Honourable Minister

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The best news this week should undoubtedly be what was delivered by Finance Minister Goodall Gondwe that come May this very year all our economic problems would be over and we will live happily thereafter.

And talking of economic problems, they are many and hard biting out here.

Food is becoming scarce by the day and, although Admarc keeps on irritatingly saying that it has enough stock of maize, our people in villages do not just have any money to buy it.

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And the veracity of Admarc’s irritating statement is even questionable as evidence on the ground suggests that there is, in fact, no maize is many depots across the country.

For those of us that have little money in our pockets, we have seen how its power has been alarmingly eroded at a faster rate than we can even spend it.

Social service delivery has crumbled with hospital wards becoming more of waiting rooms for death than places where people get cured from preventable diseases because of lack of drugs and obsolete equipment.

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I can go forever enumerating deep-rooted economic problems that beset this country but Gondwe says all will be well by May this year

Gondwe’s trump card is winning donor confidence who he thinks will come back any time soon

The Finance Minister is oozing with unbridled confidence amid claims that the conditions that donors set in order to resume budgetary aid are almost fulfilled, stressing that the Access to Information Bill, for example, will be presented next month when Parliament meets.

During a meeting with journalists meant to update us, the lesser mortals on the economy at his poshy office at Finance, Gondwe said, following the discussions with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in Washington, he is confident that government is on track to fulfil conditions that would attract budgetary support from the World Bank and European Union at a total of about K50 billion.

He rattled: “We are about to complete some of the conditions, apart from the famous Access to Information Bill which they want us to pass (in Parliament) which we will do in February-that’s quite clear to me, it will be done.”

Gondwe is over 80 now and at his age talk and one’s own voice are sweet. But this is not some pep talk about life that a grandfather gives to his grandchildren around a fire place while downing endless supply of coffee mugs and munching pop corn.

This is about the future of the country and the wellbeing of its over 14 million occupants and Gondwe better be right is his estimation, which I doubt.

For starters, I think he is over optimistic for nothing as the economic problems this country is facing are just too deep to solve within a blink of five months.

Let us face facts straight in the eye. Gondwe has lost his Midas touch. The Gondwe of old who worked magic during the first Bingu wa Mutharika administration between 2004 and 2009 is long gone and what we have in his place is a DPP politician.

And I know what politicians do and say. They paint the picture of a clear rotten situation into a rosy one. They see anthills where all of us see absolutely nothing.

But Gondwe says he has seen something and perhaps his Midas touch is back. We will take him for his word. May is just five months away, if we include January.

We will wait and then we will see whether it was another bout of promises and lies.

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