The Malawi Government through the Minister of Information and Digitalization, Moses Kunkuyu, has hinted to the Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) that the President Chakwera’s administration is already working towards addressing the economic crisis the country is currently facing.
Kunkuyu was responding to a statement the HRDC made at a press briefing on Sunday in where coalition’s leaders challenged President Chakwera to address social and economic problems that Malawians are facing.
Last week, the Malawi government officials staged a briefing during which they updated Malawians that the current forex scarcity situation which has resulted into diminished capacity to import fuel among other strategic commodities.
The government mouthpiece stated during the briefing that the difficult economic situation in which Malawi is going through did not appear from thin air, informing that DPP administration irresponsible borrowing from Afrexim Bank which left a huge debt hole being currently serviced is chief among the causes.
The HRDC chairperson, Gift Trapence, catalogued a number of concerns ranging from fertilizer procurement issues to feared food crisis situation, from escalating debt crisis to forex and fuel challenges. He called for urgent attention to these issues, stressing that they are weighing Malawians down.
While the HRDC called upon the government to demonstrate commitment to addressing the highlighted challenges, prior to the HRDC’s briefing, the Ministry of Agriculture, Sam Kawale, informed the nation last week through Parliament that government will open ADMARC markets across the country next week.
Kawale disclosed that government will dispatch 12,640 metric tons of Maize in the first phase. In breaking down, the Minister said 10,170 metric tons of maize, representing a lion’s share, will go to the southern region where Cyclone Freddy swept away crops in fields. The central region will receive 1,320 metric tons while 1,150 tons will head to the northern region.
Evidently, the HRDC’s call for government to demonstrate commitment to averting the feared food crisis failed to refer to the government’s aligned program of ensuring food availability on the market through ADMARC.
The coalition further challenged the President to present sustainable and actionable solutions to the fuel crisis, ensure professional and transparent procurement, management, and timely distribution of fertilizer for the AIP program and provide a clear actionable short, medium, and long-term crisis plan outlining the path to economic recovery.
Reacting to the statement, Kunkuyu – who is also Government Chief Spokesperson – expressed appreciation to HRDC for what he termed as ‘amplifying what we have always been saying that this country’s foundations have been tampered with for the past two decades’.
“Economic problems do not surface immediately from the time you enjoyed the temporary sweets that have a lasting impact of your economy. Excess borrowing that was not invested for profitable gains, decades of corruption and improper procurement processes. All these dug a hole in our economy and coupled with natural shocks, the economy suffers and when this happens, prices of commodities rise, your currency become weak against major reserve currencies,” Kunkuyu said in an interview to a local media on Sunday afternoon.
He added; “Importation of strategic commodities become a challenge, people become enraged and they justifiably call on their governments to take action. This is happening at a time also when some of our borrowings have matured and we must repay. Government and the president understands its role and we are here to address these challenges. People must be assured that everything that president Chakwera does, he does it for the betterment of Malawians lives.”