BY TIMES EDITORIAL:
Malawi’s insatiable appetite for borrowing was evident Tuesday when Parliament merely rubber-stamped a decision to obtain loans, amounting to K113 billion, from two Chinese banks for internet development in rural areas.
While it makes sense investing in technology that is internet, doing so through borrowing defeats the whole purpose.
There is no empirical evidence of a country that has ever developed through borrowing.
If anything, on the evidence of worsening poverty levels, borrowing is among the reasons Malawi remains trapped in economic quagmire.
We, therefore, cannot agree more with Dedza East legislator Juliana Lungu who, Tuesday, questioned the government’s appetite for borrowing.
Lunguzi ticked all the necessary boxes when she gave examples of past decisions to borrow for tractors, shellers etc only for the country to realise that it was ill-timed.
As expected, Finance Minister, Goodall Gondwe, was at his defensive best, saying the information and communications technology sector in Malawi is lagging behind and that the only way to develop the sector was through borrowing.
As an economist of international repute, Gondwe ought to know better about implications of surviving on borrowing.
If anything, what Gondwe said was mere political correctness, that our leaders are so good at.
It a pity that the people we entrust with making strategic decisions for the country cannot see the larger picture.
Having made so much noise about their allowances in the past few days, the MPs were conspicuously absent yesterday when the important motions were being moved, resulting in the same being passed without any critical debate and scrutiny.
MPs are supposed to represent the views of the people. Surely, the best way to advance the interest of the people is not to throw weight behind decisions to borrow such huge sums of money.
This country remains underdeveloped because it is caught in a vicious circle of borrowing after borrowing.
This borrowing, if unchecked, will leave our children, grandchildren and generations to come in serious problems because they will have to pay for the bad decisions which are being made now.