. Leader of opposition says Chakwera SONA empty
President Lazarus Chakwera has delivered his State of the Nation Address (SONA) with an emphasis on economic transformation which he says is at cross roads.
Chakwera’s SONA comes as the country continues to grapple with numerous social and economic challenges due to various factors.
He admitted that the country’s economy and economic aspirations are heading in opposite directions, due to among other factors, shocks emanating from cyclones as well devastating effects of the Russia and Ukraine war.
“My summation of Malawi’s condition is that we are a nation at a crossroads; a crossroads at which we must take sacrificial action now to transform our economy and reform our governance systems..”
“Admittedly, the bad news is evident to all Malawians. On the economic front, the bad news is that our macroeconomic indicators signal that our economy is suffering from several vulnerabilities,” admitted Chakwera.
The 2hr 30min address was a bumpy ride for the president as noises, yells booing and commotions formed an order of the day from the opposition benches.
The president had on several occasions paused to let the speaker bring the house to order.
However, the Malawian leader continued his address, pointing out some of the steps taken to get the nation out of the current economic mess, and progress that has been registered in other sectors.
Chakwera went on to highlight that his Tonse administration is working on a number of initiatives such as intensified agriculture mechanization and commercialization, aimed at boosting food security and exports.
‘We are conducting trial exports of maize flour and Soya Beans to Sudan and while negotiations are ongoing between Malawi and Tanzania for more regime exports,’’ said Chakwera.
Among others, he said the trade and industry ministry is critical to organize produce exports and strengthen market research efforts in collaboration with the foreign affairs department to complement the mega farms initiative.
He has since challenged the recently appointed trade and industry minister Simplex Chithyola to produce a report on these reforms to curb smuggling of products with export potential.
“I have appointed a new Minister of Trade and Industry to work jointly with other agencies in deploying a rapid strategy that tracks the exportation of produce, while my Administration continues to make progress in establishing a digital platform for marking and tracking all commodities traded in our economy,2 Chakwera said.
Meanwhile, Chakwera notes that the government is among others facing obstacles due to reliance on cash handouts by members of society, lack of respect for rule of law and tendencies by some politicians to use their connections in civil service for favours.
Commenting on the address, leader of opposition in Parliament Kondwani Nankhumwa has described the State of the national address Chakwera as empty rhetoric.
According to Nankhumwa, Chakwera’s address is a repetition of the same promises he made the first year he assumed the highest office which he has failed to fulfil.
He observes that the people in the country will continue to face social and economic challenges due to lack of the government’s direction.
Nankhumwa has since expressed doubt if the Chakwera led government will deliver its promises before 2025.
‘’In 2020 he told the nation that he is fixing the broken system, last year he said the same, today he told us the very same story, which systems have been fixed so far?’’ Wondered Nankhumwa.
on the contrary economist Betchani Tchereni states that the SONA has a lot.
Tchereni indicates that it is surprising to not how much is being done that the government information ‘machinery’ as he calls it has not been sharing with the public.
This is the third State of the Nation Address by Chakwera since he took over the highest office in 2020.