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The Nut Cracker: Mr President, you do not need my advice!

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Mr President, you have several advisers on almost everything who are paid to give you advice and, as such, you do not need any advice from me. I am certain that what you will read here is not new. But I will say it anyway!

Mr President, this country does not lack ideas and people who can lead it to its full potential.

In fact, you are one of those people and Malawians entrusted that responsibility to you by voting for you on 14th May 2014. Malawians and others have since 1964 researched on this thing called poverty in Malawi and have suggested several ways in which Malawi can better manage the economy.

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So, my question to you Mr President is why is this country still poor, why is our economy in shambles? You do not need to be reminded My President that the economic growth of this country is strained.

Growth is projected at less than 3% down from the projected 6%, characterized by high interest rates, as high as 42% and a volatile exchange rate above K646.50/US$ and below performance in most sectors of the economy.

This economy, Mr President, is reeling in unprecedented budget deficits, prices are sky-rocketing and the debt profile is getting dangerously closer to unsustainable levels.

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Just as all your predecessors have claimed, you are not the only one to take office with an empty Treasury, Muluzi, Bingu and Joyce all claimed the same.

Malawians desperately wanted change in 2014 and, as you know, any change is risky. So, when Malawians gave you and the DPP another chance after two years of PP, they were taking a risk. In simple terms Malawians took a risk in you and the DPP.

Mr President, I understand that in times of need the knee-jerk reaction is to turn to austerity measures; however no country in the world has come out of an economic crisis by austerity alone without prioritisation of critical expenditures.

It is almost common sense that the economy cannot be turned around through austerity measures, but by spending more on productive sectors and reducing expenditure on non-productive sectors.

Mr President, you can implement a stimulus strategy which should create jobs instantaneously and deliver immediate returns to the country.

The problem with austerity measures, Mr President, is that they are synonymous with telling a starving person that he has to forgo one meal today so that he can eat two meals tomorrow.

Stimulus programmes can include investments in infrastructure, education, health, energy, labour intensive manufacturing and agro-processing.

It is my hope that I will soon see you unveil an economic escape strategy that will not include an obsession with the belt-tightening rhetoric while people see your close advisers and public servants loosening theirs and getting big bellies with allowances and other benefits.

Surely, by now it is common knowledge that belt tightening is not an end in itself. Mr President, it is possible to cut costs and still prioritise investments and programmes that will move this country back to its potential productive capacity.

Our experience with austerity measures has made us sceptical, my President. How do we trust people in authority when they ask us to tighten our belts when at the same time those around and close to the Presidency are looting public resources in billions?

I hope I am not going beyond my rights by asking you Mr President to be bold and show us the plan to get us out of this economic mess. Mr President I have hope in a stimulus plan and not in austerity because the stimulus will increase aggregate demand which will in turn crowd in investment in the production of goods and services which will then create jobs.

I know those close to you will tell you that stimulus spending is a risk and that it will make inflation worse.

But Mr President, your job is about making hard choices and not easy ones, so you can listen to them and choose unemployment, economic disempowerment and dissatisfied voters in 2019. Mr President which is a far bigger and costly choice, inflation in the short to medium term or lasting prosperity in the long term?

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