President Mutharika was speaking at Chikoko Bay in Mangochi during a special address to the nation at the dawn of the New Year.
“The year 2017 has taken us to the year 2018. We have every reason to kneel down and thank God the Almighty who keeps the seasons and the times that keep us going. Malawi has come a long way. We have all come a long way.
I want to thank every one of you for your initiatives and hardwork that keep our country going. Remember, it is what you do in your home, in every work place, every business and every day that keeps Malawi moving. We are the generation to take Malawi to prosperity,” said President Mutharika.
The Malawi Leader said the country's inflation rate has hit a single digit coupled with the reduction of the policy rate.
“Remember that soon after Bingu’s death in 2012, our currency devalued with over 190 per cent. By February 2013, inflation rose to 37.9 per cent. Then Cashgate followed in 2013 and plundered our treasury. We lost donor confidence, and lost budget support. We lost confidence in our economy. We lost confidence in the spirit of doing business. Now, we are seeing the return of our confidence. This country was almost bankrupt when I took over in 2014.
We had a deficit of K532 billion, which was almost equal to the annual budget at the time. The economy is growing again. From 2.7 per cent, the economy has risen to 6.4 per cent of real GDP growth. Inflation has fallen to the single digit of 7.7 per cent. Over the past one year prices of many commodities have remained stable,” added Malawi Leader.
Besides, President Mutharika further said that prices of fuel have not increased for more than one year now and local currency has been stable. For the first time in Malawi history, forex reserves have risen to 5.6 months import cover. On the other hand, the Reserve Bank of Malawi has just announced the reduction of the policy rate from 18 per cent to 16 per cent.
“We expect commercial banks to follow suit and reduce lending rates. This will make borrowing money from commercial banks cheaper and easier. I want a farmer, a teacher, a nurse, a soldier, a policeman or policewoman to walk into the bank and walk out with a loan that can build him or her a house somewhere. That is the Malawi we want to be. In 2018, I will ensure that our economy grows more to benefit more people because that is what inclusive development is about,” said Professor Mutharika.
The President also expressed satisfaction at the tremendous road infrastructure development registered in the country.
“In the year that ended, we have made progress that we should build on as we get into 2018. We cannot be complacent. But we have a reason to look forward with hope. For the first time in our history, you can collect and own a National Identity Card because you are a valued citizen of Malawi. This will go down in history that in the year 2017, we accomplished the National ID project.
For the first time, we are connecting people, businesses, offices and places on a National Optic Fibre Backbone. We are taking Malawi into the digital age and Malawi must have affordable, fast and reliable internet. For the first time, we are building a Cancer Centre and we are about to begin a military hospital. For the first time, Malawi will have an aerial ambulance.
For the first time, we resolved to say goodbye to dusty roads in our towns and cities. You should expect more roads in 2018.For the first time, we are building roads across villages and rural communities never ever thought about,” said Malawi Leader.
The President then thanked God the Almighty for the good crop harvest, a thing which has made the country food secure.