Chakwera’s socio economic recovery plan: Remedying economic setback with quick-win solutions

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Chakwera’s socio economic recovery plan: Remedying economic setback with quick-win solutions
Chakwera’s socio economic recovery plan: Remedying economic setback with quick-win solutions

Africa-Press – Malawi. The newly unveiled K580 billion Covid-19 Socio-Economic Recovery Plan (SERP) clearly demarcates for Malawi the forces between bleakness and hope, darkness and light, stagnation and motion.

For a forward looking economy that has shown signs of resilience amid downfall among many, a dose of more economic activity and increased earning power is enough to turn around things quickly.

It is a fact that the global pandemic has brought down economies world over with many of them balancing their books in the negatives. Economic experts say Malawi is among the few that have performed well. It was one of the only two economies in Southern African Development Community (SADC) bloc not to go into recession.

To ensure that the country stays on course towards sustainable and inclusive development, the Chakwera administration has deployed a recovery plan that seeks to bring short term solutions within a couple of years between now and 2023.

Despite its running across some key sectors of the economy, the plan is mainly hinged on massive construction of clinics, schools, roads, railway lines, power plants, sports venues and many more.

The plan will see construction of 900 health posts and 1800 community worker housing units under the National Acceleration Community Health Roadmap. It will also include the 15 flagship infrastructural projects already underway under the K1 trillion Kwacha local currency bond.

These include the M1 stretch from Kanengo to Mzimba via Kasungu, the lakeshore road from Balaka to Nkhatabay via Salima and Nkhotakota, the Griffin Saenda Sports Complex and the six-lane Kenyatta Drive and four-lane Mzimba Street.

It will also touch the Education sector with 34 new secondary schools lined up for immediate construction. Surprisingly, there has been blunt discontent from few detractors on why the administration has decided to invest a good amount in construction.

What they ignore is the fact that such a hive of construction creates an economic system whose domino effect stretches far and wide. An economy the size of Malawi is going to feel the effects of such a phenomenal occurrence.

Infrastructure development, in its many forms, comes out in a similar fashion. Regardless of the structure under construction the tools are more or less the same.

This means the supply chain for construction materials will increase manifold and there is going to be an upward purchasing power of items such as cement, steel, quarry, sand, paint and so on and so forth.

These will be greatly supported by labour, being one of the critical means of production and time has come for massive job creation among youth and women who will swarm these construction sites for opportunity.

It is also a fact that construction signifies a healthy economy. Wherever one travels especially in the third world, the first sign of economic growth is mainly determined by the level of heavy machinery and construction sites.

Adequate investment in infrastructure connects businesses and workers to a host of opportunities – There is money circulating in all directions during construction which in turn reflects in the growth of disposable income among communities.

The SERP also focuses on closing the trade deficit by revitalizing the Agriculture sector through export capabilities. More importantly, the sector will have a facelift through utilization of mechanized farming technologies supported by larger irrigation projects such as the Shire Valley Transformation Project.

It is President Chakwera’s conviction that a more industrialized and modernized Agriculture sector will facilitate the transition from a predominantly importing economy to an exporting one.

These are the quick wins for the economy to manage the trade imbalance that exists now. Another interesting area of intervention is that of Energy where focus has been placed on construction and expansion of energy sources, hydro power plants and solar farms.

The Chakwera administration has taken special interest in clean energy and it is not surprising that Malawi has added more power to the national grid from solar sources than any other technology.

Under the Socio Economic Recovery Plan, government intends to revamp the water sector through strengthening capacity of all water boards to stabilize tariffs. And offer consumers some relief.

This aspect will also include commencement of Salima-Lilongwe Water Project. The 120-km multibillion project will pump and transfer 100 cubic metres of water daily from Lake Malawi to Lilongwe City.

For Malawi to come of out the current economic turmoil, government has also planned to revive small and medium enterprises (SME) and the informal sector through various interventions such as digitalization and automation of government systems to facilitate quick uptake of financial and social services by communities.

The country continues to seek ways on how it must stay on track towards the Vision Malawi2063. Going by the Socio Economic Recovery Plan, there is enough optimism not only among the leadership, but citizens as well.

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