President Lazarus Chakwera has challenged Malawians to embrace a culture of productivity and do away with reliance on handouts if the country is to achieve its economic and development aspirations.
Speaking when he launched Private Sector Labs in Lilongwe Friday under the Presidential Delivery Unit (PDU), Chakwera said Malawi’s economy has been sick for many years because of high donor dependence, among other things.
He said because of such culture, Malawi has been unable to cure the real challenges the country faces such as high unemployment rate among young people, stagnation of workers’ income and gross imbalance between imports and exports.
Chakwera also bemoaned what he called “unsustainable dependence” on a single cash crop [tobacco] whose returns he said have been diminishing over the years.
“We have been forced to feel the full force of the disease that ails our economy, the disease of unproductivity…
“Let us accept the fact that no single economy in the history of the world was ever built by giving people things in exchange for nothing. No single economy in the world was ever built by getting free things, but by producing valuable things,” he said.
Chakwera said the country’s ‘diseased’ economy may never be cured until the citizens and authorities start to build it on the foundation of a thriving and expanding private sector.
He said that the private sector is one of those that operates on productivity.
He then said the Private Sector Labs bring leaders of government and captains of the industry together to answer crucial economic and investment questions, without kickbacks or stealing from the public purse.
“I am talking about building a private sector that is capable of mobilising and attracting both domestic and external investments. I am talking about building a private sector that is capable of creating employment and growing incomes for citizens,” he said.
Chakwera said through the labs, his government is ready to listen and deal with barriers to private investment such as legislation, tax regimes and administrative impediments, among others.
On her part, Secretary to the President and Cabinet (SPC) Colleen Zamba, who is also head of the PDU, said the Private Sector Labs are designed to jump-start economic growth.
Chakwera established the PDU in 2021 with the aim of ensuring that government ministries, departments and agencies are implementing his key priorities of development.