By Duncan Mlanjira
President Lazarus Chakwera’s Tonse Alliance-led government has embarked on a job creation initiative which was promised for one million jobs in their first year in office promised during the fresh presidential election,
Chakwera said to realize this, government has and are treating the creation of a conducive environment for further job creation as an ongoing and multi- sectoral effort.
“We are currently consulting with and collecting data from key stakeholders for use in our ongoing assessment of the economy’s current employment situation,” Chakwera said in his first State of Nation Address (SONA) made in Parliament on Friday.
“That way, the actionable job creation strategy we are developing is responsive to the evolving fundamentals of the job market.
“The strategy is a cocktail of the right policies, incentives, partnerships, and microfinance programs that will be applied strategically to produce the enabling environment for sustainable job creation and the productivity of marketable goods and services.”
He added that one of the things depleting jobs for Malawians is the influx of expatriates who have no unique expertise.
“Although we already have laws proscribing this, the institutions mandated to enforce those laws have largely failed to do so. In many cases, we have expatriates doing things dissimilar to what they indicated on first entry.
“As a nation, we must welcome experts from all over the world, but we must never allow our hospitality to be used in a way that disadvantages our own citizens.
“For that reason, my Administration will ensure that only those expatriates with transferrable skills we have in short supply are welcome to work within our borders.
“The point here is to ensure that what jobs we create for our citizens are not a free for all, for that defeats the purpose of this project.”
The same principle, he said, applies to issues of land, saying it must be protected and utilized to benefit Malawians and with this understanding, his Administration is rolling out land reforms which will be piloted in 8 districts for study before the nationalization of the same.
“In addition, my Administration is committed to reforming the management of land records through the Land Information Management System and the decentralization of land administration to the district level.
“The sale and acquisition of land by unauthorized persons, the concentration of land in the hands of a few, and the use of land without proper documentation are all signs of a nation run amok.
“We must restore law and order. My Administration is fully aware of various cases of land disputes and encroachment, and since we are committed to the rule of law, we will regulate security of land tenure to ensure that all individuals and entities with legal entitlement to land are protected and violators are brought to book.”
He took cognizance that the country has a similar crisis of lawlessness in relation to housing and that the government is aware of the acute shortage of housing for its citizens, especially in urban centers, which some have taken as a license to break our country’s housing laws with impunity.
“But the underlying problem is that demand is way higher than supply. According to the National Statistics Office, Malawi needs 21,000 new housing units every year, but we are far from meeting this demand because of the previous Administration’s lack of seriousness with the housing needs of Malawians.
“To address this gap, my Administration is engaging various private sector players in the development of a robust housing programme through Public and Private Partnerships.
“In any case, one of the key issues this programme is being designed to address is the chronic disenfranchisement of women and youth in matters of land and housing justice,” he said.