Govt tipped on economic management

Govt tipped on economic management

Oxfam in Malawi and its partners have called for implementation of reforms in the Affordable Inputs Programme (AIP) and restoration of economic stability amid a perceived loss of public confidence in economic management.

The stakeholders made the recommendations yesterday in Lilongwe at a high-level meeting on Malawi’s Economic Recovery and Growth organised by Oxfam in Malawi, the Economics Association of Malawi, Malawi Economic Justice Network and Youth and Society, among other partners.

Mihowa: Fund productive activities

In her remarks, Oxfam in Malawi country director Lingalireni Mihowa urged the government to reform the AIP to redirect more resources to productive activities such as commercial agriculture.

She said: “We need to stop being more consumptive in our budget and allocate more resources to productive enterprises like the megafarms.

“It is an area that has shown promise and with more resources, it can produce some meaningful results in terms of local economic development.”

Mihowa also urged government to refrain from implementing populist programmes that were not originally planned in the budget and expedite the installation and use of the Integrated Financial Management Information System (Ifmis) to prevent the pilferage of public resources.

“The last time we had Cashgate it was because the Ifmis was not fully rolled out and had some [systemic inefficiencies],” she said.

The Tonse Alliance administration, ushered into power in June 2020, cancelled an Extended Credit Facility (ECF) agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) barely three months in office.

It also rebranded the Farm Inputs Subsidy Programme (Fisp) implemented by its predecessor administration, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), to AIP which initially quadrupled the beneficiaries from one million to 3.4 million.

The changes came after had the new administration committed to phasing out the Fisp and reducing the wage bill by restricting recruitment and promotions in the public sector.

Both reforms were reintroduced in the ECF signed by the Tonse administration.

In a separate interview, Budget and Finance Committee of Parliament vice-chairperson Ishmael Mkumba, who is also United Democratic Front spokesperson on finance in Parliament, said the government should not put too much hope in ECF programmes because they have not produced intended results.

British High Commissioner Fiona Ritchie said the forum allowed different stakeholders from civil society organisations, the academia, and local think tanks to debate on wide-ranging economic issues.

She said the discussions will help improve understanding of the tough economic policies that the country has implemented to restore economic stability and create the conditions for economic growth.

The dialogue coincided with a report from Afrobarometer titled “Amid economic gloom, few Malawians hold hope for improvement” which showed that nine in 10 Malawians believed that the government has done a poor job in managing the economy.

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The post Govt tipped on economic management appeared first on The Nation Online.