'We are delivering on our promises'

Written by  Lydia Kalonde

State President Professor Peter Mutharika says his administration will continue to fulfill the promises he made during the run-up to the May 20, 2014 elections.

Pres. Mutharika speaking at the opening of the 2015/2016 budget meeting Pres. Mutharika speaking at the opening of the 2015/2016 budget meeting

Mutharika was speaking when he officially opened the 2015/2016 Budget meeting at Parliament in Lilongwe in a State of the National Address themed “Fulfilling our Promises.”

Addressing the fully packed August House comprising Development Partners, Civil Society Organisations, Faith Leaders and Parliamentarians, Mutharika highlighted some of the major achievements his Government has made during his one year in office.

“I am particularly delighted because we are already delivering on our promises before the first anniversary of my administration,” said Mutharika.

“True to my manifesto promise, I appointed and have maintained a lean cabinet of 20 members including the President and Vice President.

“I am proud to report that the lean cabinet has so far performed well and achieved its main objective of minimizing Government expenditure and we have already significantly reduced the powers of the presidency by transferring some departments from the Office of the President and Cabinet (OPC) to relevant ministries.”

Mutharika said his Government had embarked on accelerating skills development by suggesting establishment of 28 community colleges, one in each district.

He said eleven community colleges were already operational and that Government would develop the remaining seventeen by 2016.

On financial management the president assured the nation that his government will continue to strengthen debt management practices and restructure repayment of outstanding arrears to suppliers in order to ease pressure on the budget and give Government room for other priority expenditures.

“This will also help Government to avoid further accumulation of arrears through strict expenditure control measures. Going forward, Mr. Speaker, Sir, Government will endeavour to reduce its fiscal deficit to levels below the internationally acceptable threshold (3 percent of GDP), in order to reduce pressure on domestic borrowing and interest rates,” he said.

Prof Mutharika further said this will be supported by Government’s commitment to fiscal consolidation and foreign borrowing through loans obtained on concessional terms.

“Mr. Speaker, Sir, the 2015/2016 budget will reflect a prudent fiscal stance whereby all recurrent transactions will be largely financed by domestically generated resources with a modest net domestic borrowing of about 1.1 percent of GDP.”

On foreign exchange, President Mutharika said although the country’s reserves still remained lower than adequate, it was pleasing to note that recently, the reserves had risen to more than 3 months of import cover and this, he said, had managed to anchor the stability of the Kwacha in 2015.

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