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Malawi president opens 'suggestion box' to help solve national challenges

Malawi president opens 'suggestion box' to help solve national challenges


Malawian President, Peter Mutharika, has placed a suggestion box at the door of the chief secretary to government, seeking solutions from citizens on how to surmount the country’s challenges.

Mutharika’s appeal for solutions was contained in his national address on Monday, according to the Malawi24 news portal. The president said he will organize a meeting to discuss whatever ideas are presented.

“And to all Malawians listening to me now, if you have alternatives that can help us improve, I invite you to submit your ideas to me through the chief secretary to the government, upon receipt of your suggestions I will organise a platform to discuss these,” Mutharika is quoted to have said.

The president’s latest move comes after reports that the government was being arrogant to consider suggestions made by stakeholders in the country’s socio-economic challenges.

The country’s Public Affairs Committee (PAC) chairperson told local media networks that the government was not accommodating of their resolutions made in February this year, as part of efforts aimed at alleviating Malawi’s challenges.

The country is currently facing a crisis in the education sector, with planned national student protests. The students are calling for the president, as chancellor of the Mzuzu University to solve an impasse that has led to staff strike and subsequently closure of the university.

The government told the university lecturers that it had no money to pay them, a position that led to the strike.

According to the African Development Bank (AfDB), ‘‘In 2015, buffeted by weather and policy shocks, Malawi’s real GDP growth was estimated at 2.9%, down from 5.7% in 2014. Floods and dry spells reduced maize production by 30%, resulting in a 2.3% slowdown in agriculture sector growth.

‘‘This caused food insecurity for an estimated 2.8 million people (16% of the population). The contraction in agricultural production and reduced demand affected the wholesale, retail and manufacturing sectors.

‘‘Fiscal pressures intensified in the 2014/15 fiscal year because of shortfalls in external financing due to the continued suspension of budgetary support, lower domestic revenue, and expenditure overruns, particularly on wages and salaries and on interest payments,’‘ the continental finance body added.

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