Days after the Reserve Bank of Malawi announced the devaluation of the Kwacha by 44 percent, President Lazarus Chakwera’s administration has moved in quickly to provide relief to Malawians through various measures in the fiscal space and across the key sectors of the economy.
Announcing the measures on Monday in Lilongwe, Minister of Finance and Economic Planning Simplex Chithyola Banda said government is first creating tough measures to curb the trading of forex on the black market which has been a major contributor to forex shortages on the market.
The black market, in its free operation mode, has had a negative effect on the official forex markets mainly domiciled in commercial banks and forex bureaus.
The minister said government is realigning the local currency for it to respond to the export-driven development agenda as per the long-term agenda Malawi2063.
Among the measures is the introduction of a cash transfer program targeting 184,920 who will receive K50,000 monthly for three months in districts that were hit by Cyclone Freddy namely; Phalombe, Blantyre, Thyolo, Chiradzulu, Mulanje, Chikwawa, Nsanje, Zomba and Balaka.
Another lot of 105,000 beneficiaries from the country’s cities will also receive K150,000 across three months.
The Tonse administration has also adjusted upwards the number of Malawians enrolled in the Climate- Smart Public Works beneficiaries from 300,000 to 500,000.
The minister also disclosed that government through the Ministry of Labour is currently in discussions with stakeholders in the industry to relook into employee welfare and consider adjusting upwards monthly earnings.
Also within the labour sector, the Chakwera administration will hire 2741 health workers by July 2024 and facilitate a labour export program that will see 5000 skilled youths find sustainable jobs in foreign markets and earn a decent living.
In his address the minister implored upon Malawians to be pragmatic and face the economic problems head on by working extra harder in their respective trades.