All African Conference of Churches (AACC) Economic Justice and Accountability Ambassador in Malawi, Reverend Baxton Maulidi has expressed sadness over the levels of the country’s public debt.
Rev Maulidi was reacting to the recent report shared by the Minister of Finance Sostin Gwengwe that Malawi’s public debt as of May 2022 stood at 6.3 Trillion MWK from 5.7 trillion the previous year.
Maulidi said it is heart breaking to learn that the country’s debt translates to every Malawian citizen having a debt of K600,000 hanging over each individual’s head.
He said it is therefore prudent to know how the money has been used as the country doesn’t have much to show for it.
He also expressed worry that Malawi remains predominantly an importing and consuming nation and lags behind in producing and exporting attributing this to lack of political will to move the country forward.
He cited the free for all looting of government resources in 2013 dubbed cashgate and the recent mismanagement of covid 19 funds as examples.
The accountability ambassador suggested that going forward government should slow down on borrowing and put in place measures to address extravagance by duty bearers.
He further added that fighting corruption shouldn’t be lip service but action oriented.
The Economic Justice and Accountability Ambassador said it is worrisome that the IMF has not approved an Extended Credit Facility ECF for Malawi due to the unsustainable levels of the country’s public debt.
He however observed that Malawi’s neighbour Zambia’s public debt stands beyond an equivalent of K14 trillion however the IMF has approved their ECF to the tune of 1.4 billion dollars attributing it to the fiscal discipline being advanced by the new Zambian administration.
Reverend Maulidi therefore advised the executive not to only preach austerity, but to be seen to be practicing the austerity measures.
He then called upon the Ministry of Finance to come up with a report clearly explaining why each of the accumulated debt was taken and how it was used.
He has since called for conceited efforts among all sectors of the society to work together in addressing the predicament that has befallen the Malawi nation other than wasting time in finger pointing. He hailed Gwengwe for being honest and truthful about the extent of the country’s public debt with lending institutions.
Maulidi, who is also the Deputy General Secretary for Blantyre Synod of the CCAP further asked Malawians to take time to understand issues surrounding debt in this country as it seems most people do not understand how debt directly or indirectly affects their livelihood.