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Mutharika Issues Bank, Trade Bans

President Bingu wa Mutharika has ordered that no new foreign investors should be allowed to operate in Malawi until the government is convinced on how they plan to handle foreign currency.

Again, president Mutharika says the central bank should stop allowing new foreign banks wishing to establish branches in Malawi until they provide sufficient explanation on how they will handle their finances.

The president was speaking in Ntcheu district on Thursday December 29 when he presided over the elevation of Traditional Authority Makwangwala to the new traditional position of a Senior Chief.

“Why are new banks opening up when the same people are saying there is no forex here? Just who goes to a failing economy to open a new bank? Why are Malawians not seeing this? Why can’t you Malawians see that someone is fooling you?” Mutharika wondered.

He said he could not understand why just weeks after a reputable publication described Malawi as a fertile ground for establishing banks, the same people want the world now to believe the economy is failing.

Ironically, Mutharika maintained that Malawi earnings were stack in foreign banks where investors keep it away from the people that toil working in the fields to produce tobacco, tea, sugar and cotton as well.

“Malawians must know that their money is in foreign banks. That is why I want the minister of Trade to stop allowing foreign investor companies until we find out what is happening to our money,” he said further extending the order to the Reserve Bank Governor disabling him allowing foreign banks opening branches in the country.

“We are not doing this simply to stir problems but it is unfair that while we produce tobacco, cotton, it is outsiders who are getting rich. They even own planes outside. Those are your planes. I am being honest,” he said.

The two bans issued by president Mutharika accompanied yet another for officers of his government to follow his line of resolving the current economic problems in Malawi or if not “honorably decide to resign”.

The president has since vowed to reject any further calls for the devaluation of the Kwacha arguing that doing so would heavily and negatively impact on welfare of poor Malawians.

“I have argued that while the villagers will be suffering, the economists will have options for survival but not the villagers who have no jobs and any source of income,” said Mutharika describing some local economists as ‘brainwashed by colonialists” he did not name.

The president was speaking in Ntcheu district December 29 during the occasion of the elevation to Senior Chief of Traditional Authority Makwangwala.

Mutharika had no kind words for local economists who do not agree with his line of economic thinking describing them as empty-headed donor-stooges.

“I have always argued against local and international economists that the effects of devaluing the Kwacha will weigh heavily on poor people in villages,” he said adding “Those who say we should devaluate our Kwacha do not wish you well because what it means is that (commodity) prices will correspondingly increase. That is why am reluctant to accept that”.

He specifically picked on Reserve Bank Governor Dr. Perks Ligoya and Trade minister John Bande demanding of them loyalty to protect interests of poor Malawians and not the International Monetary Fund-IMF-which, he said, had no slight idea what social repercussions devaluing the local currency further would have on the majority citizens.

Mr. President noted that there was no single country in the world without economic problems and as such, the fact that Malawi has found herself in this predicament should not make her a unique case.

“ Every time there is devaluation people in rural areas do suffer more. I do not wish to see Malawians suffer,” he said.

The president also accused investors of keeping away forex from Malawi citing tobacco and other produce exporting buyers such as sugar exporters of owning foreign bank accounts which cannot be accessed by the Malawi government.

“Today we are seeing Shoprite, Spar, Game and Mr. Price coming to Malawi to start business. Every day they make millions but they do not have accounts here in Malawi. They take money outside this country.

“Why can Malawians not act on these stores that are externalizing our forex. I argue you minister of Trade and Reverse Bank of Malawi to see first where our money in going. Do not allow anyone to start business in the country without telling us where they are taking the money to.

“Our money is in India, Dubai, London and other countries. …open your eyes and see the truth I am talking about. I want you in control of forex to protect this country and not the IMF.  I will be happy to receive your resignation letter if you are not ready to protect this country, he said.

A local political observer told Zodiak Online that the tone of the speech of the president and his order for those against his formula to resign is an indication of the existence of growing disagreements among his team of players involved in running the economy.—Zodiak Online

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Comments

 
0 #2 Yekha 2011-12-30 04:56
The Malawi economy will go further down to the dogs with these anti business orders that Bingu has given. What type of economist is Bingu? He has totally failed as a President.
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0 #1 Bangula University 2011-12-29 16:27
If I resign, won't I be smoked out? Assure me!!
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