….3.8 million need food assistance
…no clear strategy to get out of woods
From Malawi is rising to a crossroads, President Lazarus Chakwera’s third State of Nation Address had more bad news and less news on how Malawi will move out of the economic doldrums.Leader of Opposition in Parliament Kondwani Nankhumwa told the media that the President did not say anything how he would solve the food shortages and high cost of living.The speech revealed a strained President who smiled less and acknowledged that he was expecting a hostile environment.
Opposition MPs jeered him at every turn and had placards telling the President to slow down on corruption.”We as a people and as a country are not producing enough valuable goods and services to generate the forex and revenue necessary to pay off our debt, engage in meaningful development, free ourselves from foriegn aid and make our economy resilient,” said Chakwera continuing to blame Covid and Global economic turn down for the mess in Malawi.The President said Malawi was expected to generate only K1.628 billion locally and did not say where government would find monies to pay for the huge deficits. Donors are unlikely to release any budget support to his administration after they openly expressed displeasure in his handling of the fight against corruption.
The President was jeered by opposition benches when he said his government had delivered 370,000 tons of fertiliser to 3.7 million smallholder farmers.Legislators have been protesting the chaotic fertiliser subsidy programme that has been most farmers fail to access the commodity. MCP Parliamentarians were usually quite.Chakwera said 3.8 million people are facing food shortages and his administration and donor agencies were providing support until harvest period.”DODMA in my office and our humanitarian partners are providing food assistance. Cash transfers and in-kind relief maize distribution. My administration has released 62,000 tons for distribution,” said Chakwera.The President said 55,000 tons have already been drawn out by DoDMa and 30,000 tons been distributed to those in need.He said the country also faces weather related challenges as 19 000 households have been already affected resulting in 57 deaths and 176 injuries.
Opposition MPs refused to take part in official photography for the session with Chakwera while Nankhumwa said the speech did not contain anything new.The President popularity is now at its lowest levels.