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Mixed views on first quarter performance

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Economic experts and industry captains have described the first quarter of 2021 as a mixed bag, citing the Covid second wave as the biggest threat to growth prospects, albeit rolling of the vaccination exercise.

In an interview on Tuesday, Malawi Confederation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry President James Chavula said there is confidence among business players and the public that there could be a pickup in activity.

He said the chamber is consolidating data from its members on their performance in the quarter under review.

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“We will soon publish a report on the performance of the private sector in the quarter. However, we see more positivity because of the vaccine.

“We can only hope that business will go back to pre- Covid levels with this positivity,” Chavula said.

Economic expert Donasius Pathera said in a separate interview that performance of the first quarter has not been satisfactory.

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Apart from Covid pandemic effects, he faulted the government for what he called insatiable appetite for borrowing as the national budget faced funding pressure.

“Economic growth for Malawi, as it stands, cannot be more than 3 percent. The Kwacha is facing a lot of pressure against major currencies and is not performing very well on the market. This is a worrisome situation,” he said.

He then urged the government to re-engage experts to chart the way forward and work on a recovery plan.

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