Malawi Congress Party (MCP) on Saturday launched its 2019-2024 manifesto, highlighting five critical areas that will propel economic growth and development if it is ushered into power in the May 21 2019 Tripartite Elections.
In the manifesto launched in Lilongwe, MCP has singled out economic management and development, agriculture development and food security, energy access and security, trade, commerce and industrial development, mining and resource governance and tourism to achieve this feat.
The party says that Malawi’s economic growth patterns have been erratic since the turn of the 1990s, stressing that the boom and bust economic growth patterns cannot contribute to the efforts of engineering fundamental structural transformation and sustainable development.
Reads the manifesto in part: “The MCP believes that Malawi’s fortunes can dramatically within the framework of the capable democratic developmental state. In line with the World Bank’s diagnosis, Malawi requires growth levels not less than six percent per annum for at least over a decade to graduate from a low to middle-income country.”
On the macro-economic policy environment, MCP’s position is that Malawi cannot achieve fundamental structural transformation and sustainable development without a strategic long-term vision to guide the achievement and sustenance of a stable macro-economic policy environment.
MCP says it will also pay particular attention to public debt and aid management to ensure sustainable economic growth and development.
Presently, Malawi’s debt to gross domestic product (GDP) ratio—the ratio between a country’s government debt to GDP—continues to rise, with figures showing that in the seven-year period to 2018, the country’s debt to GDP ratio has more than doubled.
Reserve Bank of Malawi statistics show that Malawi’s debt to GDP ratio, a measure used by economists to determine an economy’s ability to properly service and handle the nation’s budget, has risen from 28.9 percent in 2012 to 62.5 percent of GDP in 2018.
Along with this debt, the cost of debt service has been rising in low-income developing countries, with Malawi spending K123 billion on debt service for 10 years up to 2017, out of which K52 billion was interest payments.
Public debt, on the other hand, has peaked at K3 trillion, which is almost double the K1.5 trillion 2018/19 National Budget.
MCP also says it will revive the performance of parastatal organisations by limiting political interference and recruiting chief executive officers on a merit and holding them accountable for their decisions in the management of their respective enterprises.
The party also pledges it will undertake broad-based tax reforms designed to expand the tax base by increase tax compliance and lower the tax burden on individuals, businesses and all tax paying entities, revise the zero-rated Pay As You Earn tax from K35 000 to K100 000 to spur productivity and investment.