After some break, the blog is now back full time giving real time breaking news from tommorrow. But will also to do news analysis looking at the major headlines of papers and radios in Malawi. This is something different from daily news breaks and opinion that is given. But it is assumed that Malawians want to find the meaning of some of the news we create as Journalists, real events and the impact on their lives.
Personally there are many online reports on my whereabouts. I am about to pursue my dream to set up a media company that starts with an online news and radio and improving social media access to and wquality of news as it relates to Malawi. This is an experiment I would be undertaking after running this blog for almost a year.
But for news analysis today the big news is on the front page of The Nation www.mwnation.com and its a call by John Kapito asking the Government of President Joyce Banda to resign. On surface, Kapito can be dismissed as the usual noise maker, while for others he is crying for his position and for some it will be he has been paid up to say what he is saying.
I am sure Kapito by now knows that even if one messes up a country like the Late Bingu wa Mutharika, he does not see any sense for calls to resign. It is interesting that he still says it either as part of a wake up call or just part of being noticed that he is around.
The country is in a crisis, which is largely man made, we postponed crucial decisions for almost 16 months after those that had expertise advised to do so. The good thing is that President Joyce Banda knows and had publicly admitted to the same.
Then there is a question of economic crisis whose long suppressed effects have started spilling into strikes in every sector, today I am told ESCOM has joined the strike, yesterday it was waterboard, the City Councils and then nobody knows it might be Journalists who are paid peanuts and expected to produce buttered news.
The fact that everybody is merely struggling is not the question, but how to get out of it is what has become an issue.
The reforms, especially affected the poorest of the poor have been slow and despite some cosmetic salary adjustments most Malawians still are paid around USD30 to USD50 per months as take home pay, while taxes, high cost of rentals and transport and now food swallows it much faster than anything.
The International Community which pledged billions of kwacha's as usual has been slow to release the funds, but Government has not helped by tackling the probelm holistically than individually. Investments too have been slow in coming to mitigate the joblosses of 2010-2011 when foreign exchange was scarce and most production stopped due to fuel.
There are so many ways being suggested, but the long term is Malawi's focus on creating jobs, investing in infrastructure and perhaps trying to dollarise the economy as the kwacha has been left to float anyhow, making prices unpredictable in a country where most of things are imported.
Salaries should be pegged to a dollar and if possible paid in dollars, minimum wage should have been adjusted during the last meeting of Parliament and reforms of most parastatals and Government Ministries where people were appointed on other reasons than merit should have been fast tracked to esnsure that internal delays and resistence is curbed to refroms.
The fastes sector the JB administration should have looked at is Tourism and the following five steps can easily generate the country much foreign exchange that the theory of AU summit that Patricia Kaliati and company wanted people to believe;
1. Air Traffic in Malawi is worth now close to K18 billion, revatilise Air Malawi, get back its two planes, sale them, but four 50 to 100 seats planes that can fly to Cape Town, Victoria Falls, Mozambique and DR Congo apart from Addis Ababa, Nairobu, Johannesburg, Lusaka and Harare. Get proper staff with ideas not retired Civil Servants who do not understand modern airline business. We could save foreign exchange and get a whopping K8 billion as a target for a start.
2. Lets lease out the Cape MacLear Concession and build top class hotel and facilities at this beauty. The cape already attracts thousands and we could target at least 100,000 per year until they reach 500,000 each spending USD1000 dollars there plus car hire and air transport, you are talking of a whooping USD500 million that will take care of fuel and medicine.
3. Work on facilities on Mulanje Mountain- the Ministry of Tourism does not have even a professional Tourism officer at the mountains main gate of Likhubula - a very shameful development. The mountain registers as many as 10,000 tourists year we can work to add 40,000 each year until they reach 200,000 and we could rake in an easy USD300 million from the business including jobs that they will create.
4. Nyika Platuea- everybody who has been there speaks of this beauty. The Qatar company which put Patricia Kaliati in hot soup needs to be revisited. They had plans for an airport in Mzuzu, marketing in Asia, tarmac road and access to the Lake. This is the fastest concession that can save our souls and open up tourists numbers to unprecedented levels.
5. Ku Chawe, Zomba Mountain and the Lake in general, these and many sites like Nkula, Zoa and Livingstonia each have a great story that can attract many tourists and open up Malawi as a toursim destination. Tobacco and other cash crops require massive billions in subsidy, tourism will be done by private sector all we need is Government commitment.
My thinking is that insted of Kapito asking the JB administration to step down, he should be suggesting the alternative for Government to move forward. My simple tourism proposal would indicate that at least USD1 billion can be generated from the sector.
After Toursim lets talk mining from Chimwazulu to Kayelekera and lets us get what is due to us, lets re-work YEDEF and Mardef to create jobs by providing appropriate skills and marketing.
Agriculture would in five years become a second most important sector after Tourism and mining and from there we could become a service centre.
The Late Bingu wa Mutharika's idea of Universities could work in long term where most students in Africa come and train in Malawi, further we could explore other services such as banking like the Cayman and Bahamas where taxes and other areas do not apply.
In short, Joyce Banda does not need to go as Kapito is suggesting, we need to start looking at the alternaitives that this country presents. Some of us are willing to work to make a difference if those in position like the President and Her Cabinet are willing to give chance and listen to ideas.
Workers too especially places like ESCOM and Water Boards, known to be rude and lazy when even asked their work, need to start showing signs of productivity if consumers are to feel sympathetic to their cause.
Otherwise if Joyce Banda goes, the next best choice will be Professor Peter wa Mutharika or Rt. Hon John Tembo...... my conclusion as a Malawian, we are better off with JB as of now, when I change my mind I will say it!