One of the country’s socio-economic commentators has accused authorities of running government childishly by, among other things, underrating the power of the private sector in the economic creation process.

Business Consult Africa (BCA) Managing Director Henry Kachaje was speaking in Lilongwe on Friday during a debate organised by the Economics Association of Malawi on the progress of the Economic Recovery Plan (ERP).

Kachaje observed that despite the authorities being fully aware of the importance of the private sector as the engine for economic growth, businesses continue being sidelined when it comes to formulating critical policies and programmes.

“Let us say the truth here that the problem we have in Malawi is that we run government childishly.

“Government will always say the private sector is the engine for economic growth. But in reality, this is not what is happening on the ground. In Malawi, private sector is taken as something which we can consult if they wish,” said Kachaje.

He said Capital Hill tends to forget that when it comes to producing and exporting, it is the role of the private sector, therefore, needs to be involved in important programmes from the start.

“The peo p l e who ar e supposed to export are supposed to be the owners of the ERP. When this document came out the first time we pointed out that the ERP is vague.

“It says we want to develop tourism and the likes. Some of these things we just say but in reality, do we have a university where people get degrees in tourism? Which universities are teaching people international trade and exports?” asked Kachaje.

He said currently, Malawians are still learning that John Chilembwe died in such a year and that Livingstone did this and that.

Kachaje said the country needs to get serious if it wants to start moving forward.

“We are dealing with a problem whose root problem has not been dealt with. Because we have not dealt with the root cause of the problem, that has brought us where we are, I am afraid we will get back to the same problem.

[“Our root problem is leader s h ip. If we have a leadership that we allow to make all the wrong decisions and the citizens remain quiet, then we have a problem. I will give a very recent example of the distribution of maize. People have argued that it is cheaper for officials to distribute it. Have we been listened to?”] asked Kachaje.

Minister of Industry and Trade Sosten Gwengwe could not be reached for comment yesterday.

During the meeting, Press Corporation Limited (PCL) Chief Executive Officer Matthews Chikaonda faulted authorities of not consulting adequately in the process of coming up with the initiative.

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