APM Announces More Development In Mchinji

On top of the following fulfilled development projects:

  1. Mchinji-Chawala Mkanda road
  2. Mkanda Rural Growth Centre, Mchinji 3.Teachers Training College
  3. Rural electrification program.
  4. Kapondo Community Technical College

APM has announced more development in Mchinji:

  1. Mchinji to become a Municipality (It is a boarder town already).
  2. To have stadium.
  3. To have 7 secondary schools. Which translates into more than 300 teachers employed in Mchinji. 5,000 casual jobs within one year of construction.
  4. 300 businesses that will benefit from supplies and consumables.

#APM promises what he delivers. Together, Taking Malawi Forward

APM Launches Old Airport Kasiya Santhe Road

Kasungu, April 03/2019, Mana: President Professor Arthur Peter Mutharika on Wednesday launched the 95 Kilometer Old Airport-Kwanyanda road at Santhe in Kasungu.

The road project also includes the Kasiya-Santhe spur and connects two agricultural districts of Kasungu and Lilongwe.

Speaking to multitudes that gathered at Santhe Trading Centre, Professor Mutharika said he was there to fulfill the promise he made when he visited the area in 2014.

Professor Mutharika said the road project was in the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) manifesto despite claims by some parties that it was in their plans.

Said Professor Mutharika: “I promised when I came here in 2014 that I would construct the Santhe to Lilongwe road. Some who are also from here are saying they already had plans for this road, which is a lie. If you look at our manifesto in 2014 we said we would construct the road and this is well documented.

“How come they say it’s their road but these very same people said in parliament that the road was not important but a waste of money. It’s very surprising and unwise,” said Professor Mutharika.

The president also tackled the forthcoming elections saying these are the most important polls.

“On 21st May, you will be able to choose a government you want. These polls are important because you will have to either choose progress or not, you will either choose development or politics,

“The opposition parties are just against whatever I am doing, the roads, malata and cement subsidy, cash transfers and community colleges; they are saying these are bad. If I ask them if all these are bad what is good, they have nothing to say,

“Talking of development, I am saying I am doing and they are saying they will do. Who is better between who is doing or who will do? Who is doing is better,” said Professor Mutharika.

The president therefore promised that he will continue developing the country and urged all the people to vote for DPP in the next month’s elections.

Minister of Transport Jappie Mhango said the road was very significant to the people of Kasungu and hailed the swiftness the President has taken to construct the road.

“Roads like this used to take a very long time but when you took power you started right away,

“People used to take about five hours travelling this road to Lilongwe but now the hours have reduced, the cost of travel has halved and the cost of vehicle maintenance has also reduced,” said Mhango.

Speaking earlier Senior chief Lukwa thanked Professor Mutharika for the construction of the road and all the development in Kasungu.

“We now have this road…we have a stadium, technical college and people have benefitted the Malata and cement subsidy. We really have to thank you for this,” said Lukwa.

DPP secretary General Grezelder Jeffrey thanked the president for taking development to the constituencies where there are even no DPP Members of Parliament.

Jeffrey said the people have to show their appreciation by giving the president a vote on 21st May elections.

“Some people are born leaders. In the past it used to be difficult to bring development to where there is an opposition MP. Here we have seen this road where there is no DPP MP, the only way to thank you is to give you a vote,” said Jeffrey.

During the address at Santhe, Professor Mutharika also drummed up support for shadow MP for Kasungu South constituency, Mc Tonnex Mkumbukeni saying the people have to vote for him on 21st May.

The President also asked the people to vote for the two councillors in the constituency’s wards Henry Kachigunda and Linda Banda.

The new road joins the M18 at Santhe Trading Centre and the project involved upgrading of the existing earth road to class 1 bitumen standard. It connects Santhe to Kasiya, Kabudula, Nsaru up to Lilongwe.

Source: Malawi Voice

APM launches Malawi Health Situation Room

President Arthur Peter Mutharika has assured the nation that his administration is determined to make Malawi a healthy nation

The Malawi leader was speaking on Thursday at the launch of the Malawi Health Situation Room in Lilongwe. He said good health is a precondition for development because only a healthy people can develop a country, hence only a healthy people can fight poverty.

“Malawi is on the path of leading global trends. We are determined to ensure healthy lives and promote wellbeing for all at all ages and at all cost,” said President Mutharika adding that nothing will stop his administration from fighting to achieve this goal and that no cost, no human ill-will and no danger can stand on the way from making Malawi a healthy nation.

President Mutharika said, “The DPP Government believes that health is not a privilege. Good health is a right. This is the belief that drives our healthcare program. This is the spirit that drives our political manifesto. In the next five years, we pledge to achieve universal healthcare for all Malawians.”

The Malawi leader assured the nation that he is committed to ensure that all health facilities in the country have adequate stock of drugs.

“There is no point in going to hospitals where there are no drugs. There is no human dignity in dying in a hospital where there are no essential drugs in that hospital. That is why we have fought to improve availability of drugs in our hospitals,” emphasized President Mutharika.

He said in 2014 upon taking over power his administration found drug availability in hospitals at 30 per cent but now the situation has improved as drug availability in hospitals is 73 per cent.

“Every Malawian must be proud that we have made on the global stage unprecedented progress in healthcare. Malawi is now one of the best leading countries in healthcare progress. This is a cause for national pride,” echoed President Mutharika.

On HIV and AIDS Professor Mutharika said in the last five years, the number of people with HIV has continued to decline very significantly. Maternal deaths have drastically decreased; and life expectancy has risen from 37 years to 63 years in the recent past.

President Mutharika said, “This progress has been possible because we are using public resources to invest in improving the quality of life. Possible because of the doctors who never sleep, the nurses who are always on our bedside and health surveillance workers who visit every home in our villages to check on our health. I want to thank you all the health workers for the wonderful work you do in this country.”

African Development Bank sees growth improvement in Malawi

“GDP is projected to grow by 4.6% in 2018/19 and 5.6% in 2019/20. Agricultural improvements, stable macroeconomic fundamentals, the recovery in global commodity prices, and continued foreign direct investment inflows are projected to drive growth. Due to high dependence on rain-fed agriculture, weather-related shocks are key risks to export commodities such as tea, tobacco, and other products, as experienced in 2017. The long dry spell in the first half of 2018 and fall 2018’s armyworm infestation reduced the maize output, contributing substantially to GDP deceleration in 2018. A number of government initiatives aim at more resilient growth. To strengthen the industrial base, constrained by inadequate energy and water supplies, a feasibility study was completed in 2017 for the Kholombidzo Hydropower Generation Project, which will increase the country’s electricity generation capacity. Recognizing that agricultural performance continues to be hampered by adverse weather shocks, the government launched the National Agricultural Policy 2016 to increase production and the National Irrigation Policy 2016 to support irrigation, agricultural diversification, and value addition. In 2016, parliament enacted new land laws, including the Land Act, the Physical Planning Act, the Customary Land Act, and the Land Acquisition (Amendment) Act, to accelerate land registration for improved food production and infrastructure development. ”

Source:  African Economic Outlook 2019 (African Development Bank)

The Big Interview: Peter Mutharika, President of Malawi

Peter Mutharika was elected as President of Malawi four years ago and inherited a “tattered and bankrupt economy” from his predecessor, Joyce Banda. Since then he has been engaged in repairing the damage. He tells reGina Jane Jere how he has reversed many of the economic woes and is setting his country, which is celebrating 54 years of independence next month, on a path of sustainable growth.

The election of Peter Mutharika as President of Malawi in 2014 was not a quiet affair for a country renowned for its political docility. The argument over the credibility of his presidential candidacy – which some critics saw as a dynastic take-over from his elder brother, President Bingu wa Mutharika, who had died in office two years earlier – still shapes debate in the country and further afield today.

But the fact is that in those elections, he defeated the then caretaker President Joyce Banda – who was mired in a corruption scandal of unprecedented scale – into third place.

It is however, the extent of and the effects of Joyce Banda’s so- called cashgate scandal, and how the new Mutharika government has handled and resolved it in the past 4 years, that is defining his rule, as he sets up for a likely second term in office come 2019.

“My government came into power just after the former President’s cashgate,” he says when I interview him during the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in London.

“When we came in, there was absolutely no money. The country was literally bankrupt. The deficit the previous government left was as huge as the national budget; the arrears were in billions, both local and international. To top it all, donors who were providing 40% of our budget left us,” he says.

Fixing what he calls a ‘tattered economy’ and winning back donor confidence has been one of Mutharika’s priorities, but it has not been easy; it has been compounded further by natural calamities that beset the country as soon as he took office.

“Just after six months in office, we had the worst floods Malawi has ever experienced. A third of the country was completely swept away, and we had to divert the little resources we had to rebuilding the affected regions, and resettling people.

“But as if that was not enough,” he reflects, “a year later we had famine – the worst ever in the country’s history – and it ran for two consecutive years. We became completely food-insecure, and we had to find ways of feeding over 4.5m people who were food-insecure,” he laments.

“I promised people in those difficult times that nobody was going to die of hunger. We worked extremely hard and we managed to contain the famine, and now this year, things are much better, although we may still have a deficit of maybe 30%,” he adds

His voice drops lower when he describes the fiscal situation he found the country in following his election: “When I came in, we found only one month’s worth of import cover – the lowest in the history of our country.

“Now we have six months of import cover, the highest in history. We now have over $1bn in reserve – $600m official reserves and $400m private.”

He says that inflation, which had been running at 37%, has now been beaten down to only 7.8%; interest rates of about 40% have been brought down to 16% policy rate and about 21% commercial rate.

“Of course I would still like these figures to go further down, that is the aim. But we are still much better off than where we began. And during this time, the kwacha has been stable for over two years, and I have not raised the price of petrol for two years too – something that has never happened before.”

Fiscal spending cutbacks

Filling the financial black hole he inherited gives him a sense of pride. He gives further details with zeal: “Although we had this very bad economic scenario, we still had to set our targets on how were going to rebuild the economy. One of the major decisions I took was to cut down on spending: one way to do so was to cut back on ministers travelling abroad for meetings. I myself do not travel; the last time I did [before the CHOGM] was to attend the UN General Assembly in New York last September.

“I also decided to have a lean Cabinet – reducing it from a Cabinet of 30-40 people to only 18 ministers, 20 if you include the President and Vice-President. By doing so we have managed to save large amounts.”

He expands on the subject: “Even unnecessary internal travel has been cut back. For example, if I am visiting a project, not everyone has to travel with me, unless they are a line minister. For example if I am launching an agriculture project, only the Minister of Agriculture has to come, we do not need the Minister of Labour to come too, or the Minister of Foreign Affairs or Education.

“Through these cut-backs and prudent spending, we have managed to finance our budget ourselves. This year for example, 90% of our budget is being funded from our own domestic resources. We are
not getting donor support to fund our budget.”

He says the economy has now stabilised, and is beginning to grow. “When we came in, it was growing at 2.7%, and although we still have to have the final figures, this year the economy is expected to grow at around 4 to 5.5%,” he says. “I am hoping that in a year or two, we should be able to grow at 7 to 7.5%. So yes, the economy is beginning to improve and this has taken discipline and a strict and tight monetary policy. The opposition of course may not agree, but the truth of the matter is that these are facts, and we can prove them.”

These prudent fiscal measures appear to have also warmed the hearts of the donor community, who have since returned to Malawi. In April, the IMF approved a new three-year Extended Credit Facility for Malawi to the tune of $112.3m.

The Fund’s Deputy Managing Director, Tao Zhang has given Malawi the thumbs up, but with a note of caution: “Malawi has shown progress in achieving macroeconomic stabilisation following two years of drought, with a rebound in growth and inflation reduced to single digits… However, the fiscal position has deteriorated and the public debt to GDP ratio has risen…The authorities are [however] making efforts to entrench macroeconomic stability, raise growth and reduce poverty.”

Africa must industrialise

But breaking the poverty cycle, says Mutharika, is not a one-man show. It is both a national and regional collective responsibility, and needs the involvement of private investors and institutional collaboration. Here the Malawian leader is quick to point out why his country was one of the African countries that welcomed and signed up to all the three protocols of the recently launched Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

However, despite his pragmatism on the need for the new economic bloc, Mutharika is cautious on how Malawi (and other African signatories) will make the most of the AfCFTA:

“It is important that Africa has conceived the Common Market and we can have as many common markets as we want – but in order to benefit and take advantage of it and make it work for our people, countries must have something to sell. That is why for me, the emphasis must be on industrialisation,” he stresses.

“Malawi is a small market of 17m people, and it is important to be part of this common market. By having a larger market we will of course attract investors, but if you are not manufacturing anything, they won’t be interested. Investors know that in the rest of the world, return on investment is about 8%; in Africa it is around 30%. The labour is there, resources are there, and it is therefore very profitable to invest in Africa. But they will not invest without the right conditions.”

So the key now for Africa, he argues, is industrialisation – especially in agriculture. Whatever the produce, lentils, ground nuts, soya beans, all have to be industrially processed. “But without industrialising, we will not attract investment,” he points out.

He also emphasises the need for value addition to African produce and in manufacturing. “That is what we are trying to do in Malawi, and that is what I will aim for,” he promises.

One of the major constraints on industrialisation, he says, is the perennial problem of having an adequate power supply and the over-reliance on hydropower across most parts of the continent.

“Lake Malawi’s levels have gone down and we can now only pump out less than 50% [of the power capacity]. The situation is made worse because Malawi has only invested in hydro power for all these years,” he says.

“Can you believe that since independence in 1964, we have only added 131 megawatts of power? We have never projected the future of energy demands to cater for the growth of our populations and the needs of industrialisation.”

Africa must change that, and he says it will only happen if there is political will and major investments in new forms of energy, such as nuclear, coal-driven or fossil.

Term limits crucial

But achieving excellent economic and financial results only comes with good governance, he says, adding that term limits are crucial to moving Africa forward.

“I am a lawyer by profession and was involved in the drafting of my country’s Constitution, so I very much respect the rule of law and yes, I am very much in support of political term limits, there is no doubt about that,” he says.

Former President Joyce Banda has since returned to Malawi after a four-year self-imposed exile and indirectly, from this interview, President Mutharika seems to be ensuring her return is safe.

“Good governance is crucial and as President I also have no intention of curtailing anyone’s freedom and arresting people arbitrarily, as long as they respect the rule of law and remain non-violent – even as we lead up to the next elections, during which we are expecting to get a landslide victory.

“It will give us the mandate to finish all the work we are putting in place for Malawi to excel,” he stresses.

Mutharika to Lead Global Fund Conference in France

Malawian President Peter Mutharika has been asked by the Global Fund to champion and lead next year’s conference in France to fight HIV and Aids, tuberculosis and malaria.

Global Fund executive director Peter Sands said in a letter dated June 18 that the organisations has chosen President Mutharika because Malawi is thriving in the fight of the three pandemics. “The Global Fund would be honoured if yoy agreed to be our Champion in the lead up to our next Replenishment and as such express your support to our partnership and our Replenishment Conference, to be hosted by France in 2019, during the upcoming African Union Heads of State summut,” reads the letter in part as seen by Nyasa Times.

State House spokesman Mgeme Kalilani confirmed that the letter has been received by President Mutharika.

According to Kalilani, the President has accepted the Global Fund request “with humility”, saying he commit to discharging the responsibility “with the highest possible of integrity and diligence.”

The Global Fund (GF) is an international financing organization, designed to accelerate the end of AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria epidemics by providing support to countries in the response to the three diseases

Germany gives Malawi K30bn development support

The German government has given Malawi 35 million euro (about K30 billion) to help improve the country’s health, education and agriculture sectors.

Speaking in an interview after signing the agreement in Lilongwe on Wesdnesday, German Ambassador Juergen Borsch said Germany is committed to continue helping the Malawi government meet its obligations to its citizens.

According to Borsch, 10 million euro is designated for the improvement of health care systems, reproductive health, and primary school programmes while 5 million euro is for the improvement of infrastructure and job creation in rural areas

He said: “Germany has been one of the oldest and consistent provider of assistance to Malawi and we are very excited to help in changing Malawians’ lives for the better.”

In his remarks, Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Development Goodall Gondwe said Germany started assisting Malawi as early as 1963.

“The country’s achievements continue to be obscured by some of the challenges that we face as a country. If you go to schools, children are sitting on the floor while in our hospitals services are not very good. Imagine a referral hospital like Kamuzu Central turning corridors into wards. This is not on, and the assistance you give us makes a huge difference,” said Gondwe.

The government of Malawi and the government of the Federal Republic of Germany successfully concluded official government to government negotiations on development cooperation which were held in Berlin last year.

Since the cooperation between Malawi and Germany started in 1963, Germany has supported Malawi with bilateral technical and financial cooperation amounting to over 1.1 billion euro. n