Thursday, June 13, 2024

SONA: Standard Bank for more accountability in government

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Standard Bank Plc, Chief Executive Phillip Madinga

Standard Bank Plc, listed on the Malawi Stock Exchange (MSE) has applauded President Lazarus Chakwera for heeding calls to make reforms in some pertinent areas of the country’s economy, but urged the President to be firm on accountability in government systems.

In a statement responding to the President’s State of Nation of Address, Chief Executive Phillip Madinga whose bank provides a tripartite dialogue platform on national economic reforms said the decision by government to remove visa restrictions and implement reforms in the mining sector represent positive strides towards restoring economic growth.

“Whilst we applaud these positive steps and developments, as a key partner for Malawi’s growth, we 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. We believe this would complement current efforts by government to put economy on a sustainable recovery and growth path,” said Madinga.

The chief executive said removal of entry visa restrictions, announced by Home Affairs Minister Ken Zikhale N’goma in a Gazette last week and signing of the Mining Development Agreements (MDAs) with Kanyika Mines, are among the five issues tabled during Standard Bank’s Leadership Round Table series which brings together private sector, government, and donors to discuss the economy.

“We welcome the Government’s renewed focus on mining development. The sector is key to government’s recently adopted Agriculture, Tourism & Mining (ATM) strategy, as 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,” he said.

He added; “We look forward to the conclusion and signing of the other remaining Mining Development Agreements that are currently under negotiation.”

On the easing of entry visa restrictions, Madinga said the move would in the medium to long-term help Malawi boost inflows of much-needed foreign currency and position the country 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 obvious potential,” he said.

Now in its second year, the Standard Bank-hosted Leadership Round Table series attracts powerful figures in policy and decision-making institutions at government, donor and private sector level. The last session on December 12, 2023 highlighted five key areas needing urgent reform, and included the push for a more independent Reserve Bank of Malawi (RBM).

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