President Peter Mutharika Thursday said trade and investment are key drivers for sustainable economic development.
Mutharika was speaking at the Kamuzu Palace in Lilongwe when had an audience with visiting British Minister responsible for Department for International Development (DFID) and Member of Parliament, James Wharton.
Mutharika said during the second Malawi Investment Forum held in Lilongwe in October, a number of Memorandum of Understandings were signed on energy, water development, transport and housing.
“Our ranking for the World Bank Cost of Doing Business has also improved significantly. Our target is to reach the 100 ranking,” he said.
He therefore asked the United Kingdom Government to continue supporting the Malawi Government in the implementation of the trade and investment agenda to achieve economic transformation.
“It is our ultimate desire to become a predominantly exporting, manufacturing and productive nation, through this initiative. We also look forward for more British investors coming to Malawi to invest in various sectors of the economy, including agro-processing and value addition, manufacturing, mining and tourism,” Mutharika said.
He said Wharton’s visit signified the commitment to strengthen the bonds of cordial, historical ties and beneficial relations existing between the two governments which dated back to the British Missionaries in the 1850s.
He said the UK had been a leading development partner for Malawi over the years and that the assistance had been in three forms—budgetary, sectoral and project support.
Mutharika said the budgetary support which had been non-discretional, had been critical to Malawi for many years in supporting the country’s Balance of Payments (BOPs), as well as financing critical expenditures of our its budget, especially social expenditures.
He, however, said since the Cashgate scandal of 2013 perpetrated by the former administration, the country had not been able to receive any budget support.
“This has caused a lot of social economic challenges to our people. My government has, however, worked tirelessly to ensure that the country gets back on track with the IMF.
“We have also worked hard to improve our Public Financial Management Systems, such as undertaking regular bank reconciliation of government accounts, fiscal reporting and pre-audit inspections.
“The Director of Public Prosecution and the Anti-Corruption Bureau have also succeeded in securing 100 per cent convictions on all cashgate cases brought before the courts so far and we continue to pursue every case to its logical conclusion,” Mutharika said.
In his remarks, Wharton said he was interested in getting the opportunity to see how work was being undertaken and challenges with drought and humanitarian crisis.
He announced an increase in the UK funding and support for the humanitarian crisis to US$ 8.1 million to help and ensure that people are able to get through the difficult period. (By Gladys Kamakanda, Mana)