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Pres Banda defends economic reforms, expects breakthroughs in 2013

Pres-Joyce-BandaBLANTYRE—Malawi’s President Joyce Banda says 2013 is the year of breakthroughs and that her administration is committed to creating more wealth to reduce poverty.

Speaking during the opening of the 44th parliament meeting in Lilongwe Friday, Pres Banda said the path Malawi has taken “is a good one, the only one for our country” and she is seeing more breakthroughs.

She said her government is committed to attaining economic growth through sustainable wealth and job opportunity creation to reduce poverty at all levels.

The Malawi leader further said her administration designed and put in place the economic recovery plan (ERP) to cushion the country from economic hard times let alone the consolidation of achievements made by the previous regimes.

“The ERP was designed as a short and medium term strategy to attain economic growth through sustainable wealth creation in a quest to reduce poverty at levels. At the same time the Joyce Banda administration is very much committed to consolidate achievements made by the previous regimes,” Banda said.

She said transport infrastructure, information and communication technology (ICT), tourism, among other sectors, falls within the priority areas of her government.

“Tourism is one of the emerging sectors in Malawi. It has potential to generate revenue, employment, improve infrastructure as well as conservation of wildlife and culture. It is for this reason we saw it wise to include tourism in the implementation of the ERP.

“Apart from generating revenue, creating employment, improving infrastructure, and promoting Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), the sector has direct linkages with other sectors of the economy,” she said.

The president, however, observed that industry faces a number of challenges which include poor service delivery, uncoordinated and insufficient marketing of tourism products and inadequate purpose-built infrastructure.

She therefore said her government will restore and improve tourism assets, including supporting the restocking of game reserves and national parks, intensify marketing of the country as a preferred tourist destination and aggressively, put measures to increase flights to Malawi, including direct flights from Europe.

She also urged civil society groupings, faith community and opposition parties to entirely support the government to realize its vision.

“We need to work together if Malawi is to address challenges being experienced in other sectors such as health, education and mining,” Banda.

Speaker of Parliament Henry Chimunthu Banda has since adjourned the meeting to Monday, February 11, 2013.
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