Forex Shortage Attributed to Trade Imbalance
Malawi has admitted that it is failing to live up to President Bingu wa Mutharika’s calls to transform the southern African country from a net importer to an exporter hence the continued acute shortage of forex.
Minister of Agriculture, Professor Peter Mwanza said the country is experiencing forex shortages because the cost of its volume of imports is greater than the value of exports.
Professor Mwanza made the remarks in Ntcheu during a field day organized by Lilongwe Agriculture Development Division Friday.
“The country needs to urgently invest and promote export diversification, citing cotton production as an example,” said Professor Mwanza.
He said the country’s main forex earner tobacco is currently facing huge challenges, ranging from low prices and anti-smoking lobby.
In 2010 alone, Malawi’s total export value was only one billion dollars but the cost of imports was close to two billion dollars.
“This is driving the persistent forex shortage that has hit the country hard,” said the Minster.
Recently, Minister of Finance, Dr. Ken Lipenga, told parliament that government is in the process of designing a National Export Strategy.
“We’ve consulted the private sector to promote export diversification and import substitution,” said Lipenga.
Dr. Ken Lipenga also reported that the Reserve Bank of Malawi has established an Export Diversification Fund that seeks to promote export-oriented value addition has been established.
A number of farmers groups showcased their activities during the one-day agriculture field day in Ntcheu. - Zodiak Online
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