President Peter Mutharika says constructing viable and decent roads in the country is key to the country’s development.
Speaking during the ground-breaking ceremony of the Tsangano-Neno-Mwanza Road yesterday, Mutharika said enhanced and reliable transportation networks within and outside the country will link people in remote areas to better markets both within and outside the Malawi.
“Transport is key to the development of the country. No transport, no development. My plan is to have good roads linking all the centres of the country…Every part of the country should be connected. Once we do that, we will be somewhere,” he said in a speech monitored on State-run Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) TV.
Mutharika also vowed to continue the Farm Input Subsidy Programme (Fisp) and the Decent and Affordable Housing Initiative, popularly known as the Malata Subsidy, arguing the initiatives are necessary to improve people’s livelihood in rural areas.
The President lashed out at Malawi Congress Party for opposing the Malata Subsidy, saying the party does not care for rural people’s plight.
“The MCP has been saying we should discontinue the Malata Subsidy. They do not want me to construct decent housing for the poor when they have big houses in the city in Lilongwe in Area 46 and other good neighbourhoods. That’s selfish and inhumane!” he said.
However, analysts have questioned the efficacy of pursuing Fisp and Malata Subsidy, which they say are not sustainable and have not had any discernible effect on the country’s macro-economic performance.
Catholic University economist Gilbert Kachamba advised the government to redirect Fisp fund to more productive enterprises such as commercial farming if government is serious about enhancing economic growth in the country.
“Malawi is heavily dependent on agriculture, particularly commercial agriculture. But most of the government expenditure is directed towards subsistence agriculture to help poor farmers sustain their consumption needs. So, the government should target commercial farmers with the subsidy because the output in the commercial sector is far much greater than the output in the subsistence sector,” he said.