Malawi President Dr. Joyce Banda on Friday while addressing parliament remained confident – to some extent adamant – that the country will recover from the economic crisis the landlocked southern African country is going through.
The crisis, largely blamed on the economic reforms that her government undertook in April 2012, have led to high cost of living as traders adjusted prices soon after the kwacha was devalued and floated.
The President however said the reforms were the only way out to heal the tattered economy she inherited from late President Bingu wa Mutharika – a professorial but temperamental economist – who had fallen out with all major donors except China.
“The path we have taken is the right one and the only one, for our country. Therefore we must all work together: the opposition, the private sector….unity of purpose must be the modus operandi for our country to realize our destiny,” said President Banda while calling for unity as Malawi passes through the troubled economy.
“The theme of my address to the august assembly is : Unity of purpose towards economic recovery. As we continue on the path my Government wishes to underscore the importance of us staying the course with the policy reforms,” said President Banda.
Later in an interview, prominent economist Professor Ben Kalua backed the President’s confidence, saying the most important thing was to stay on course with the reforms.
“Without those reforms things would have been worse. For us to get through there is need to stay on course for now,” said Professor Kalua.
Touching on other issues, President Banda said her government was committed to improving agriculture, tourism and the energy and mining sector, saying the areas are crucial to economic growth.
“Mining is one of the five priority sectors of the ERP because of its potential to generate foreign exchange. It is for this reason that I have created the ministry of Mining,” said the President.
On tourism she said her government was speaking to investors to develop tourist attraction centres in lake shore districts like Salima and Mangochi.
“Mr. Speaker, Sir. Government is inviting serious investors to develop Cape Maclear, Salima and Likoma Island Tourist Centres on Lake Malawi and promote water sport and marina on the lake of stars,” said the President.
The President also touched the drug crisis, assuring the nation that the problem was now normalizing in most public hospitals.
“I met doctors we discussed ways on how to improve our drug storage. We also looked at ways to stop theft and corruption surrounding drugs in the country.”
The 44th session is the last session of parliament but with three meetings in between before the house is dissolved for the 2014 elections.