By Chisomo Phiri
BLANTYRE-(MaraviPost)-President Lazarus Chakwera on Monday May 16, 2022, held a virtual bilateral discussion with International Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing Director Kristalina Georgeieva.
Writing on his facebook wall, Chakwera said the discussion was to express his eagerness to see IMF team Georgieva is sending to Malawi next week to make progress on the terms of a potential Extended Credibility Facility for the country.
He wrote; “As you may recall, the IMF halted its program for Malawi after my Administration exposed the previous Administration’s acts of misreporting and toxic borrowing at the Reserve Bank of Malawi (RBM).
“Following that exposure, I committed to fix the broken systems at the Central Bank and restore a culture of transparency, professionalism, legality and discipline.
He added; “Now that this reform program is yielding results and restoring good faith between us and our development partners, I used my discussion with IMF chief today to reiterate my commitment to do even more to ensure that any support we get for our economy’s recovery from exogenous shocks does not go to waste.”
Chakwera said among other commitments his administration is making to make sure that the the country’s economic recovery support is secured include tough decisions to restructure the unsustainable debt and reverse unsustainable currency manipulation policies of past regimes.
He said his Administration’s big commitment is to tighten public spending and protect his citizenry taxes.
Chakwera said in the past six months, he reduced his program of public events by over 50% and only prioritize those that promote development, economic activity, and agricultural productivity.
He added that he has also turned down 95% of the international events he has been invited to attend abroad this year.
“This is on top of the cost cutting measures I announced across all ministries six months ago when I unveiled the Social Economic Recovery Plan (SERP).
“Our goal is to ensure that all of us are part of this season of shared sacrifice that will ensure that we have seasons of shared growth in the future..
“I know that making sacrifices like reducing public spending and raising some taxes is painful especially, when it means reducing budgetary allocations for services like the Affordable Input Programme ( AIP) as we have done, but it’s what we have to do temporarily to make tomorrow better permanently,” wrote Chakwera.
On March 18, 2020, President Lazarus Chakwera also held a meeting on the Malawi’s economy with Georgieva at the IMF headquarters in Washington, DC.
The meeting was held amidst struggle with debt issues and exacerbation by the impact of COVID-19 and more worst with the rising costs of food and oil imports.
At that time, Malawi owed US$757 million to Afreximbank and US$145 million to the Eastern and Southern Trade and Development Bank, along with US$209 million of arrears.