Malawi’s leader of opposition John Tembo on Monday poked fun at President Mutharika for asking the IMF to give him three more years before devaluing the kwacha against the dollar.
The Fund wants Malawi to devalue the kwacha to K250 against the dollar to help stem a flourishing black market and bring back the suspended extended credit facility programme – crucial to unlocking budget support which is being withheld by western donors.
But Mutharika last Friday asked the IMF and Western donors to give his administration a space of three years to try to put in place policies that will restore resilience in the country’s external balances.
“If we fail, then we can try devaluation. Western donors should help government in its attempts to find lasting solutions to these problems instead of chocking our throats,” Mutharika said effectively dumping the Fund’s recommendations .
Tembo likened the President to a patient on a hospital bed asking his doctor to allow him not to take any medication for a period of three months and see whether his condition can improve without treatment
“Allow me to express my surpise at the request by the Head of State to the IMF to give us an additional three years to continue on the disastrous path which we have taken. This is simply unworkable and will just result in further increased suffering on the part of the people of this country,” Tembo said.
The former ruling party UDF’s deputy leader in parliament Atupele Muluzi said that 18,000 jobs have been lost as a result of bad economic policies being pursued by Mutharika.
” Malawians are being highly taxed resulting into companies folding up within the last few months…experts estimate that 18,000 jobs have been lost in the process,”he said.
“Getting Malawians to work must be government’s central goal… we
must create wealth, people centred policies that would result in gainful employment,” said Atupele said.
The dabate on the Presidents speech was started by Salima Central MP Benjamin Mangira and seconded by Zomba Chingale MP Lonnie Chijere Chirwa both of whom hailed Mutharika for presenting a speech that reflected the real state of Malawi.