By Iommie Chiwalo
As authorities are struggling to justify the current 44 percent devaluation, Centre for Democracy and Economic Development Initiatives (CDEDI) has challenged Finance and Economic Affairs Minister Simplex Chithyola-Banda to provide documentary evidence, complete with figures, to illustrate the country’s economic gains from the previous 25 percent devaluation of the Malawi Kwacha.
In press statement made available to this publication, CDEDI Executive Director Sylvester Namiwa, says the documentation evidence is necessary before justifying the 44 percent devaluation of the local currency.
Minus documentation, Namiwa says as it stands only demonstrates the Minister’s clueless attempt to offer Malawians a mockery of what the Tonse Alliance administration thinks are measures to cushion devaluation effects.
He said CDEDI is challenging the minister to rise above party politics and give tangible evidence of what Malawians have gained from President Lazarus Chakwera’s 40-plus international trips whose costs do not require anyone to go into class to understand that they are partly the reason there is shortage of forex in the country.
“CDEDI and, indeed, all Malawians that mean well, have realised with shock that the much touted press conference Chithyola-Banda addressed yesterday, purportedly to outline measures to cushion vulnerable Malawians from the devastating devaluation, was a disappointment as it failed to provide the desired hope. If anything, after the briefing Malawians were more troubled at heart than before,” he said.
Considering that Finance and Economic Affairs Minister is the bedrock of the well-being of the country,Namiwa has tipped that devaluation has never, and will never work in Malawi.
“Therefore, Chithyola Banda should stop insulting the intelligence of Malawians by justifying devaluation, a vice has pushed millions into misery while push public debt, which will hurt generations to come, to haunting levels overnight,” he said.
At the presser the Minister never allowed journalists to ask questions, which according to Namiwa, the Minister sent a clear message that he neither believed nor understood what he read out in his prepared statement.
“This validates the notion that President Chakwera and his government are not only clueless, but also selfish as they are busy prescribing bitter pills to everyone, save for themselves and their cronies,” he said.
From what came from the press conference dubbed “government speaks”, majority feels what was read out was an insult to Malawians, especially the rural masses, owing to the fact that they have endured ever-increasing cost of living, aggravated by shortage of food, fuel, forex, fertiliser and essential drugs and medicines in hospitals for the past three years.
The CDEDI Chief says it is strange that the President and his administration continue to show no remorse for the deliberate pain they are inflicting on the citizenry, especially the poor majority whose only crime was to vote them into power.
“This has been manifested through callus attempts to shift the blame for their clueless leadership to the previous regime, and by not slowing down on the endless global and local trotting, on top of running a wasteful government that has pushed up public debt to unsustainable levels,” he said.
According to the Malawi Vulnerability Assessment Committee (MVAC) report, 650,000 people lost everything to Cyclone Freddy, and most of the employed earn the K50,000 monthly minimum wage and that 4.4 million Malawians are facing life threatening hunger, all this despite that 91 percent of the employable Malawians are unemployed.
Namiwa has since said that it is a no brainer to announce a measure targeting 100,000 people in a population of 20 million, and in the process saying nothing about the small and medium enterprises, which literally drive the country’s economy.
He said in the spirit of transparency and accountability, the much-talked-about 57
percent increment in social cash transfer is far from buying anything
impactful, given that most of the beneficiaries were receiving money in the ranges of MK4,000 to MK20,000 per month, which cannot afford them a 50kg bag of maize, even if the package were to be increased by 100 percent, since the price for a bag of maize was hovering at around MK40,000 before the 44 percent devaluation.
In line with Section 12 of the Republican Constitution which is clear as to who owns the authority to govern and the conditions therein, CDEDI has called upon concerned Malawians to join hands to liberate Malawi (the only country we call home), from destruction beyond repair.
“It is deeply regrettable that the current regime has become a sure threat to the survival of the very same people it was supposed to serve and protect. Malawians we are left alone (tili tokha) and the earlier we realise this and do the needful, the better for us and generations to come,” he said
Soon after the 44 percent devaluation, it was not the private sector that led the increment of commodity prices but it was government entities beginning with ESCOM and MERA. Prices of fuel and electricity tariffs were increased midnight and people following morning woke up to news of the hiking prices of transports and other basic commodities..