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Politicians clueless on economy—Kalua

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kaluaEconomist and Chancellor College lecturer, Professor Ben Kalua, has said people in the country are losing hope in the economy because the country’s leadership has no clue as to what needs to be done to recover from current economic hardships.

In an exclusive interview with The Daily Times, Kalua said the current crop of politicians has failed to come up with solutions to Malawi’s ailing economy.

“Despite various challenges Malawi is facing, there is a lot that we as a people can do to change our fortunes, but for this to happen our politicians need to learn to make and quickly implement tough decisions,” said Kalua.

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He also said it is high time Malawi embraced crop diversification to achieve the dream of becoming a dominant exporting country.

“There was a time when this country used to export crops such as groundnuts and other legumes, we can do this again only if we started expanding our exporting base by building the capacity of those that are growing other crops other than maize,” he said.

Kalua’s sentiments come as the May deadline Minister of Finance Goodall Gondwe projected for the country’s economic recovery approaches.

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But Kalua has said with the slow pace at which the leadership is making and implementing decisions, things are not bound to improve any time soon unless a miracle happens.

He also said food problems that the country is facing could be traced to over-reliance on smallholder farmers to fulfil the country’s food needs.

“It is disappointing to note that despite being an agro-based economy, we still rely on rain-fed agriculture [dominated] by smallholder farmers, no wonder we are always struggling to realise surplus food for export … inflation is heavily linked to availability of food and this will always affect us because we grow only once in a season unlike other countries who have two growing seasons and they also prioritise irrigation farming,” he said.

He warned that the country’s economic situation remains peculiar in as far as inflation is concerned because the country is experiencing difficulties to cope with the growing seasons where prices of commodities are usually high.

Government spokesperson Jappie Mhango referred the reporter to the Ministry of Finance saying economic issues are technical and can better be handled by economists in the ministry.

Spokesperson in the Ministry of Finance Nations Msowoya said there is a lot that government is doing to improve the economy in all sectors including the agriculture sector.

“There are a lot of visible things that we are doing, If you check for the past 10-years, the land that has been [allocated to irrigation farming] has increased. Talk of the Shire Valley Irrigation Project which will be the biggest project in Southern Africa, we are also doing a lot in other schemes like, Domasi, Likangala, Bua and many other schemes. All these developments are a clear indication that government is not only talking but also translating the talking to tangible things on the ground,” he said

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