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‘MIP-1 aspirations remain attainable’

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Edith Jiya

The National Planning Commission (NPC) on Friday hosted a Private Sector Engagement Breakfast in Blantyre where it discussed with industry players their role towards attaining the Malawi 2063 first 10-Year Implementation Plan (MIP- 1) targets amid prevailing economic woes.

NPC Director General Thomas Munthali remains optimistic that Malawi can still graduate into a middle-income economy and achieve most Sustainable Development Goals targets by implementing key things enshrined in the country’s medium-term development plan.

He outlined investments and key policy interventions in megafarms, mining and tourism coupled with urgent restoration of generation capacity in electricity and macro-economic stability among key things needed to attain MIP-1 targets.

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He said, however, the government will need strong support and partnership with the private sector to undertake the catalytic investments and projects.

“Without a strong alliance with the private sector, we cannot do much,” Munthali said.

He said there are also a few mining development agreements that need local participation for them to be signed as it is a legal requirement for foreign mining companies to partner Malawians in mining ventures.

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He also mentioned tourism as another sector with low hanging fruits that could support Malawi’s economic recovery and growth and was optimistic that the government will address the issue of visa, which is hindering growth of the sector.

He said NPC will continue engaging with the government through the Presidential Delivery Unit and MW2063 Pillar and Enabler Coordination Groups to track progress of implementation.

Private sector players called for a “sense of urgency” in addressing economic challenges facing the country and thorough consultations in the enactment of laws and policies that facilitate national growth.

Old Mutual plc Chief Executive Officer Edith Jiya said there is great potential to quickly turn around the country’s economy but authorities have to move with speed in providing an enabling environment to the private sector.

“We can address the foreign exchange challenges through investments in areas such as megafarms, where there are huge opportunities. Within three years, mega farms [crops] can surpass tobacco [in terms of forex they’ll generate],” Jiya said.

Ecobank Malawi Managing Director Raymond Fordwuo called on the government to open the tourism sector by removing its visa restrictions, saying they are stifling the development of the tourism industry.

“Everybody needs a visa to come to Malawi except [those from] Sadc. You must learn from Rwanda, which is earning big in tourism, especially through international conferences because it has no visa restrictions,” said Fordwuo.

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