Long fuel queues are order of the day
* Amidst all the challenges that Malawi is facing, the leadership has chosen to behave as business as usual
* Condone mass looting and theft of public resources and executive coverup of corruption
* Chakwera pledged and requested the citizens to join him in removing the rubble from the government
* We believe that Tonse Alliance is the very same rubble ought to be removed
* The proposed demonstrations and national shutdown are a timely response
By Duncan Mlanjira
Forum for National Development (FND) maintains that the planned national shutdown and prolonged mass demonstrations being propagated by Citizens Against Impunity & Corruption (CAIC) are justified — thus it endorses the process.
In a statement, FND National Coordinator, Fryson Chodzi says “amidst all the challenges that Malawi is facing — including lack of fuel, rising cost of living, uncertainty on fertilizer — the leadership has chosen to behave as business as usual; condone mass looting and theft of public resources and executive coverup of corruption”.
He adds that this “must drive each and able citizen mad” and goes on to quote a saying that ‘when a leader does not address the problem, the problem becomes the leader and the leader becomes the problem’.
This quotation, says Chodzi, “is true of President Chakwera and Tonse Alliance Government. They are a problem that Malawi has”.
“Fortunately, President Chakwera pledged and requested the citizens to join him in removing the rubble from the government and we believe that Tonse Alliance is the very same rubble ought to be removed and the proposed demonstrations and national shutdown are a timely response.”
Chodzi thus urges Malawians:
* to remain vigilant in defending their hard-worn democracy;
* to remain vigilant in holding the leadership to account the leadership in the management of public finances;
* all those who can offer logistical support to organisers to do so;
* Calls upon the clergy to educate the masses on the need to participate fully in the management of this country; and
* the academia should contribute their voice to the mismanagement and the ever rising corruption.
“We can no longer be bystanders when Malawians are going through the most difficult and turbulent times — every citizen has a right to a decent and meaningful life.
“Together, we can have a better Malawi. Impunity, mediocrity, theft, nepotism, arrogance must fall!” concludes Chodzi.
Meanwhile, reports currently circulating quotes Finance Minister, Sosten Gwengwe as confirming that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has granted Malawi Rapid Credit Facility under the Food Shock Window.
This follows the visit by an IMF delegation into Malawi — led by Mika Saito from October 5-8 — for a staff-monitored program with executive board Involvement. Once the funds are received, the much needed forex would start flowing in the country, unlocking the fuel bottlenecks which the country has been experiencing.
Quoting Gwengwe, the reports say the Rapid Credit Facility would allow Malawi get half of the US$350 million it applied under the Extended Credit Facility (ECF).
He is further quoted as saying the assistance from the IMF has just been introduced to poor countries facing economic challenges due to effects of CoVID-19 pandemic.
In a statement, the IMF, indicates that the Saito-led delegation held discussions with various government officials including President Chakwera, Gwengwe and Reserve Bank of Malawi Governor, Wilson Banda.
The IMF said Malawi requested a Fund-supported program to help address the country’s urgent Balance of Payments (BOP) financing needs and restore macroeconomic stability and set the foundation for inclusive growth that would improve the life of people.
The statement further said the Malawian leadership have embarked on a debt restructuring process to help restore debt sustainability and pave the way for an Extended Credit Facility Arrangement — to help address Malawi’s immediate financing needs and support its reform program while the authorities continue to make progress on debt restructuring.
Saito is quoted as saying: “We had productive discussions with the authorities and made good progress on their request for a disbursement under the Food Shock Window of up to 50% of quota and the Staff Monitored Program with Executive Board Involvement.
“The disbursement under the Food Shock Window — combined with the Staff Monitored Program — would help address Malawi’s urgent financing needs and support reforms while providing the country with sufficient time to make progress on the debt restructuring process.
“We were reassured by the authorities’ commitment to advance structural reforms and to steer the country towards macroeconomic stability and a sustainable debt path, including through the debt restructuring process underway.
“We reached broad understandings on the macroeconomic framework and reforms underpinning the Food Shock Window and PMB request.”
Saito indicated that discussions continued in Washington, DC from October 11–17 on the sidelines of the IMF-World Bank annual meetings with a view to making sufficient progress to be able to present the authorities’ request for emergency financing under the Food Shock Window and PMB to the IMF’s Executive Board, as soon as possible.
“The authorities reiterated their commitment to steadfastly move to an Extended Credit Facility arrangement once sufficient progress has been achieved on the debt restructuring process. IMF staff stands ready to support the authorities in this endeavor.
“The IMF mission team thanks the Malawian authorities for their hospitality and productive discussions.”
When President Chakwera met the IMF in US on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly last month IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva said they had “a very thoughtful and productive discussion on the difficult economic situation facing Malawi”.
“I was impressed by the President’s unwavering commitment to forge ahead with ambitious reform efforts to help improve the lives of the Malawian people and to firmly restore macroeconomic stability, including tackling unsustainable public debt.
“I reiterated to the President the Fund’s resolute support for his country and for the people of Malawi. In this regard, the IMF’s staff is working steadfastly with the President’s economic team with a view to the IMF staff team visiting Malawi very soon to discuss next steps and explore options to address Malawi’s immediate financing needs and support its reform program.
“We agreed that tackling the country’s economic challenges effectively calls for a concerted effort by all stakeholders, including the support of the international community,” she had said.