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Justin Malewezi faults Peter Mutharika on quick economic recovery

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Former vice-president Justin Malewezi has contradicted President Peter Mutharika’s optimism that the local economy will pick up again in December; saying it will take years before Malawi’s economy regains course.

Mutharika told the press last week at Sanjika palace in Blantyre that the economy sick as it is, has not collapsed and it will pick up in December which is the month the  international monetary Fund (IMF) will be conducting a next review to determine if the country qualifies for the Extended Credit Facility.

But last week, Malewezi told The Daily Times in an interview that Mutharika’s sentiments on the economy are merely political. He said if he is to issue an economic statement it will take a number of years for the economy to bounce back.

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“No not soon, we have a long way to go, to simplify in terms of economics the time

Malawi will export more than what it imports that’s when we will start making progress,” said Malewezi.

He said there are political statements and economic statements and what Malewezi was giving was an economic statement.

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“In politics you don’t want to make people feel like everything is gone, you give hope but the reality is that this economy is in dire straits, once we accept that then we must start planning what to do to retrieve it, it can be retrieved if we put right policies and right people behind it,” Malewezi said.

He said Malawians should not be deceived on the economy, arguing that people should be looking at the performance of the local currency against other major currencies as that is the major indicator of the economic status.

“Look at the kwacha, it is dropping, that’s the symptom, as I said you must export [more] than you import but all these should be done if there s a favourable environment for private investors to produce what to export,” he said.

Malewezi also suggested that the massive plunder of public resources that happened at Capital Hill in 2013 highly contributed to the current economic woes as people are still stealing from the coffers.

President of the Economics Association of Malawi (Ecama), Henry Kachaje, said the president need to elaborate where he is getting the confidence that the economy will get back on track.

According to Kachaje, looking at the economy on the ground, not everyone is optimistic that the local economy would revamp for the better because there are a number of issues, including low revenue collection that is still draining the economy.

“It is good that the President has the hope because with the status of the economy, we need to make some decisive actions,” he said.

Kachaje said the President should come out clear why he thinks the economy will pick up because domestically, there has been low revenue collected.

“Government should also update us in terms of how we have cut over expenditure. I don’t think we have seen necessarily cuts on our expenditure like in the Fisp programme so where are we doing the cuts that can justify the position which the president has taken,” Kachaje said.

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