By: Duncan Mlanjira
Minister of Finance and Economic Planning Goodall Gondwe as well as Reserve Bank of Malawi Governor Dr Dalitso Kabambe, has assured Malawians that the economy has stabilized and that the government is currently doing everything possible in order to continue to grow it.
Gondwe said this at Nkopola Lodge in Mangochi when he was opened a Monetary Policy Conference, saying Malawi kwacha has been stable for some time now showing that the government is taking care of the economy.
“We are doing it well and we will continue doing well,” he told the delegates that has attracted some of top level people who will speak at the conference including reserve bank governors Dr Denny Kalyalya from Zambia and Dr Patrick Njoroge from Kenya.
Gondwe asked Malawians not to tqlk ill of their own country, saying they should be positive and help government achieve its goals rather than just trying to pull it down.
He admitted that interest rates are indeed high and he challenged stakeholders to find solutions to the problem.
“Yes, we may be poor but let’s face the challenges together in a positive way for the good of our country,” he said.
In his remarks, RBM Governor Kabambe said the conference is very crucial because it will allow stakeholders to deliberate on whether to cap interest rates.
Kabambe said RBM have been capping interest rates since 1987 and that they remain fixed.
He lent credence to Gondwe’s assertion that the economy has currently revitalised but he was quick to add that its fruits cannot be reaped now, saying it takes time for the people to benefit from the economy which is just stabilising.
He said the bank lending rates have reduced from 45% to 24% and this is not a mean achievement.
Just recently, International Monetary Fund (IMF) Board completed its assessment of Malawi’s performance on its Extended Credit Facility (ECF), allowing the global lender to make the loan of about K102.7 billion ($140 million) to be disbursed over a three-year period.
The approval followed a meeting the IMF boss had with Malawi delegation in Washington DC in April 2018 and enabled an immediate disbursement of about US$16 million.
The remaining amount was agreed to be phased over the duration of the program, subject to semi-annual reviews.
IMF board based its decision on the country’s microeconomic stability as a catalyst for economic growth.
Gondwe had described the development as “very positive” because it “signals” that the country is on the right track with the economic agenda and “will help push for the much needed return of budget support.”
He had said Malawi is one of the few countries in the southern African region which has received the IMF nod.
Among other things, the programme has been looking at government borrowing and management of foreign reserves, areas where Malawi has done well.