Malawi’s conglomerate Press Corporation Limited (PCL) and the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Malawi (Icam) have said Capital Hill should desist from the tendency of presenting budget statements which do not provide clear answers in terms of implementation.
The two (PCL and Icam) feel the local economy can only grow if authorities and various implementing agencies that are allocated funds provide modalities on how they intend to handle projects highlighted in national annual budgets.
This comes hot on the heels of the just-presented K1.3 trillion financial plan for 2017/2018 by Finance, Economic Planning and Development Minister, Goodall Gondwe in the august House in Lilongwe two weeks ago, in which he said Malawi’s economy is set to register growth, thanks to good harvests this season.
Gondwe projected economic growth in the Sadc Region, where Malawi is, to pick up to 2.8 percent in 2017 and 3.7 percent in 2018, although in Malawi higher growth rates are possible and expected during this period.
“Mr. Speaker, Sir, it is strongly believed that the economy could register an increased growth rate of between five and six percent in 2017 and, thereafter, depending upon good weather conditions, a resumption of robust economic growth rates is likely,” he said.
But PCL Chief Executive Officer, George Partridge, who was guest of honour at an Icam annual dinner held at Sunbird Mount Soche in Blantyre, said a lot leaves to be desired even in the budgets Malawi has had.
He noted that Malawi’s economic indicators are still an embarrassment despite that the country has precious resources that could boost the agro-based economy.
“The budget statements are the same and nothing new is said. They don’t provide answers and ways of achieving (goals for the) the economy. You cannot just predict the growth of the economic growth without saying how that will be achieved,” Partridge said.
He said the authorities should make Malawi financially independent by looking into aspects of production, capital and labour among others.
“There is need to review labour laws, the Crop Act and ensure that the issue of Farm Inputs Subsidy Programme is reviewed. It is painful to lower the prices of crops like maize and place a ban on exportation of the crop,” he said.
In his remarks, Icam president, Henry Chowawa, noted that their institution will continue to advise government on how to achieve financial and economic independence by engaging it.
He said Malawi cannot afford to be left behind in issues of financial and economic management, hence this year’s theme, ‘Achieving Financial and Economic Independence, Which Way for Malawi.’
“We want to say that right resources should also be channelled to right departments. Malawi can also save on resources if qualified accountants are employment in public and private sectors,” he said.
The dinner was sponsored by Old Mutual.