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.
We have managed the economy without donor budget support. We have managed the economy through economic shocks of national disasters. We survived national floods, drought and famine for two consecutive years.
Now, our future looks better.
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.
Prices of fuel have not increased for more than one year now. Our local currency has been stable. For the first time in our history, our forex reserves have risen to 5.6 months import cover.
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.
With affordable loans from commercial banks, we can free business women struggling with hard loans from bank mkhonde and katapila to make ends meet.
In 2018, I will ensure that our economy grows more to benefit more people because that is what inclusive development is about.