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Chakwera administration earns Standard Bank praise for implementing economic reform proposals

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Standard Bank of Malawi plc has applauded the commitment of President Dr. Lazarus McCarthy Chakwera’s government’s commitment to move with implementation of some of the economic reform proposals tabled during the Standard Bank-hosted Leadership Round Table series.

The bank highlighted on Monday that the removal of visa restrictions for tourists from 79 strategic countries and development issues as some of the key areas of the reforms tabled by stakeholders at the second Leadership Round Table forum.

The forum took place at the Bingu International Conference Centre (BICC) in Lilongwe on December 12, 2023.

The Leadership Round Table forums are Standard Bank’s initiative that creates a platform for dialogue on economic reform by government, its agencies, private sector and donors.

In his reaction to the State of the Nation Address (SONA) Chakwera delivered on Friday, Standard Bank Chief Executive Officer, Phillip Madinga, commended Chakwera and his government for heeding calls for urgent reform and implementation in some aspects of our national economy that they considered as critical in helping to catalyze growth and economic recovery.

Madinga said the removal of travel visa restrictions will help boost tourist arrivals from key source markets of Europe, the America’s, Asia, and rest of Africa.

“In the medium to long-term, increasing tourist and business arrivals to Malawi helps boost inflows of much-needed foreign currency, and opens Malawi as an ideal Foreign Direct Investment destination. Easing travel restrictions for developed countries also sends strong intent of the government’s commitment and readiness to do business with major global investors seeking to move their capital to selected African markets endowed in natural resources and agriculture. Malawi offers this potential,” reads the statement in part.

In his comment on the progress on mining sector and mining development agreements (MDAs), Madinga said Standard Bank welcomed the government’s renewed focus on mining development.

He said the sector is key to government’s recently adopted Agriculture, Tourism & Mining (ATM) strategy, observing that mining seeks to complement the role that the agriculture sector has played over many decades as the key earner of foreign exchange and growth for Malawi.

Madinga added that mining can become one of the alternative economic growth drivers for the country.

“Mining and Tourism form part of the ATM strategy as they offer alternative sources of foreign currency generation and receipts by maximizing on Malawi’s intrinsic natural endowments and creating a conducive environment for their exploitation. The signing of the Mining Development Agreements (MDAs) with Kanyika Mines signals the government’s commitment to the sector. At the same time, the government’s initiative to create regulatory organs for the sector is one we will continue to watch keenly. We look forward to the conclusion and signing of the other remaining Mining Development Agreements that are currently under negotiation,” he said.

However, Madinga was quick to implore on the President and government to reinforce an effective performance management system for all Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) and implement an accountability framework where performance of all MDA personnel up to ministerial level is continuously assessed publicly.

He said the bank believes that this would complement current efforts by government to put economy on a sustainable recovery and growth path.

“At the next Business Leadership Round Table, to be convened soon, Standard Bank Plc and its partners from Government, Private sector, Development Partners, and the donor community will continue to review progress. We Believe in Malawi. That is why, at Standard Bank, we affirm that Malawi is Our Home. We Drive Her Growth,” thus Madinga concluded his statement.

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