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Saulos Chilima admits Malawi economy facing hiccups

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Kondwani Nankhumwa

Vice-President Saulos Chilima, who is also Minister of Economic Planning and Development and Public Sector Reforms, Tuesday acknowledged that the country is facing economic challenges.

He also admitted that the Covid pandemic, lack of funds and poor governance were delaying the successful implementation of the public sector reforms agenda.

Chilima attributed the current status of the economy to a deficit in net export, stressing that the country has been a net importer for a long time. He said it was high time stakeholders increased production and exported more.

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He was speaking in Parliament when he appeared for the second time to answer questions as Minister of Economic Planning and Development and Public Sector Reforms.

He said the Ministry of Finance and Reserve Bank of Malawi were looking into ways of cushioning the economy.

“We are aware of the challenges that exist and, in the short to medium term, we may take up painful decisions that would help the country to celebrate in the next few years,” Chilima said.

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This was disclosed when Leader of the Opposition in Parliament Kondwani Nankhumwa expressed concern over the economic situation in the country, citing devaluation of the local unit, the Kwacha, the increase in domestic borrowing and rise of commodity prices.

Chilima, who stood in the chamber for about 45 minutes to respond to questions on public reforms, assured the august House that implementation of lined up initiatives was on track.

Chilima said the reforms are already bearing fruits in some of the targeted 136 institutions while others are at the processing level of attaining their outcome.

“It was noted that the ailing State-Owned Enterprises that drew, and are implementing, business-turn-around strategies as a reform process are making steady progress towards the intended desired outcomes,” he said.

Such enterprises include the Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi, Agricultural Development and Marketing Corporation, Malawi Postal Corporation and Blantyre Water Board.

On reforms, he said the majority of them were interlinked to the Malawi 2063 Agenda.

Cabinet ministers signed reform contracts with President Lazarus Chakwera on November 23 2020.

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