Professor Brown Chimphamba once said: “The best contribution that one makes is the one they make for their country”. The expression is a demand for loyalty, patriotism, sacrifice, love and anything good that a responsible citizen is expected to do for their own country.
This is what Malawians used to be known for before the multiparty dispensation. It is unfortunate now that with the passing of time, these characteristics have diminished in most Malawians. We have become a bunch of selfish individuals that have no regard for empathy, honour and need for legacy.
Whenever we are hit by challenges, we do not prioritise focusing on possible solutions, but we are quick to play blame games. Although citizens have the right to hold the government accountable for the challenges they face, there is a need to realise that everyone has a role to play to cushion the pain Malawians are going through.
We all need to sacrifice something to revive our economy. We must realise that even in cases where the President, Cabinet, and other senior government officials sacrifice their salaries and benefits, the savings collected would not suffice to overcome the magnitude of the challenges the country is facing, hence the call for every individual to contribute to their trade. In the current situation, I call upon business people or entrepreneurs to sacrifice.
Entrepreneurs are central to the lives of Malawians and the government as they can make or break, depending on how they manage the prices of their commodities or services. Despite having justifiable reasons for price hikes every time fuel prices go up or when devaluation, inflation and other factors happen, we have in the past two decades seen unrealistic price adjustments by the business community over the past two decades.
Examples are many. For instance, when government introduced a 16 percent value added tax on cooking oil, traders increased the price of their commodity to more than 50 percent in just two months, to the amazement of many. Being aware of the economic status of the country and its people, it is only proper for patriotic entrepreneurs to be fair in their pricing.
Entrepreneurs are humans and social beings too, therefore, apart from just working to make profit, they need to be the solutions to society’s problems. Sometimes the best way of paying back to their country as entrepreneurs is to stagnate the prices of their commodies and make little gains just to ease pressure on buyers.
It is my sincere hope that most entrepreneurs in this country are (faith) believers so they know that sacrifice is not only the greatest virtue, but is also divine. We were all destined for destruction if it was not for God’s intervention by sacrificing His own son Jesus Christ (John 3:16).
From the same scriptures, we also learn that the justice of a society is tested and judged by its treatment of the poor. God’s covenant with Israel was dependent on the way the community treated the poor and unprotected the widow, orphan and stranger (Deut. 16:11-12, Ex. 22:21-27, Isa. 1:16-17).
As we work hard to attain economic success on earth, we should remember to balance and strive to be successful spiritually in the way we address people’s needs.
Let us continue holding our leaders accountable for the betterment of our country’s economy. But in the process, remember that we are part of the same government and have a role to play, sacrifices to make and a country to love for us to resolve our challenges.
Now it is time for patriotic entrepreneurs to act accordingly.