The inviting words were encapsulated in the Chakwera Super hi5 political campaign plan; “Thrive together. “
These, ladies and gentlemen, are not just words. It was a statement of extreme intent, a holy grail of all campaign promises and the quintessential mantra of the epitome of Tonse’s change agenda.
And if I’m not mistaken, that was the only authoritative predicate. In fact, it is this beguiling assertion of a common destiny that has founded and anchored the whole narrative that our President and Vice President have largely delved into.
“Malawi okomera Tonse” was that punchline that Tonse painted as a canvas of moral and ethical principles from which a selection of social goals would be drawn as they pledged to tackle the economy of good- be for all.
So why this sudden change of mind?
For example, when the discourse on the cannabis industry, otherwise known as Chamba in the vernacular, in Malawi became ripe, many Malawians were so excited.
For the first time, many envisioned a desirable future. Everyone was excited because, whether by chance or not, it was what had been promised; “Prosper together!” “
Unfortunately, there has been a complete departure and a violation of this commitment.
What was deployed was not only licentious, but it shattered every shred of this dream of prospering together.
Unexplainedly, our leaders had become completely notorious renegades, treacherously abandoning their own allegiance to the cause they had sworn to fight for.
The high price tags on cannabis license fees and other requirements were immoral and clearly aimed at barring ordinary citizens from participating.
At first glance, this government was only interested in giving easy access to our resources and tax breaks to wealthy investors and those with large portfolios.
I’m not implying in any way that this is an industry that could be manipulated and run by every jack and jill across the country. But all I’m saying is that the government should at least level the playing field for everyone.
Although this is the first time that Malawians have been allowed to experiment and explore the market opportunities that cannabis will present, it is important to know that this is still a rapidly evolving industry that requires a smart approach. and disciplined engagement with the necessary knowledge.
Currently, Malawi has four acceptable strains of industrial cannabis and six strains of medicinal cannabis and yet we do not have greenhouses or processing plants.
In other words, we send our raw materials and order them within the country. By doing this we are in effect creating jobs in other countries while denying our people the same opportunity.
It is a retrograde strategy as we have done with the rubber industry where we export excess raw materials to RSA at a very low price and yet at the same time we import processed rubber at a very high cost of China.
Isn’t this a missed opportunity for the government to start building greenhouses and processing plants in Nkhotakota and elsewhere so that our farmers can buy seeds at a lower price?
These factories could easily translate into an increase in the employment rate and fulfill the strategy of creating a million jobs. The administration of Tonse must empower its local citizens to enable increased jobs and economies of scale in the country.
Without a social capitalist approach and rigorous means of firmly regulating quality, it will be impossible to remain committed to the protection of public health while taking measures to improve the efficiency of regulatory channels for the legal use and marketing of appropriate derivative products. We need a comprehensive redistributive approach and sound economic justice policies.
Without a social capitalist approach and rigorous means of firmly regulating quality, it will be impossible to remain committed to the protection of public health while taking measures to improve the efficiency of regulatory channels for the legal use and marketing of appropriate derivative products.
When the late Dr Hastings Kamuzu Banda introduced the cultivation of tobacco for example, he did so knowingly that the crop he was introducing was one of the most difficult to produce and maintain, but he was intentional about certain things and managed to make it the biggest source of income for forex. the nation.
What we need is a collective mental power to talk about something with complete changes in our perceptions, beliefs and desires for shared prosperity.
To begin with, we can start by emulating what the late Kamuzu did with small farmers by promoting the idea of farmers’ clubs as small cooperatives and giving them adequate training and knowledge as well as ease of ready to micro-finance them so that they are free to compete and directly become the first to benefit.
I strongly suggest that this should be done in an intentional way to reduce inequalities and promote social and economic justice and that we should focus on how we can harness these existing opportunities to create wealth for our people.
We must foster an environment that allows all Malawians to flourish easily and to build a sustainable and sufficient material base for dignified and productive livelihoods.
Instead of imposing these immoral high fees and making it almost impossible for the poor to participate, I suggest that the government consider introducing a progressive system.
The government should allow tax percentages and license fees to increase gradually only as the amount of Basic Income increases.
In this way, the government would be able to manage and address this income gap and inequality while affirmatively promoting fairness and justice.
All the government would be required to do is manage the risk so that there are no unnecessary disruptions and breaches of compliance.
By refusing to offer healthy solutions that could reverse some of the hardships many Malawians face on a daily basis, they have allowed themselves to become complicit in widening the growing divide between the haves and have-nots.
If this Tonse government cannot change the conditions of human fragility and the relentless anguish that is felt by our people, if Dr Chakwera and Dr Chilima will not stand up for the weakest among us, then I do not know who will do it.
My humble appeal to our government is that they will help us stop creating a society that seeks to operate on a heavily exploitative system with such a wide gap between rich and poor.
We need government policies to not only focus on individuals and maximum profits, but we also need to put more emphasis on collective success and fairness for all.
The type of economic propensity and predisposition Tons should be one that focuses on creating roadmaps for job creation and fairness.
We don’t need our scales to tip to one side to favor only the powerful and the rich.
It’s no hidden secret that most of these super rich investors will eventually outsource their forex and cash the proceeds outside of Malawi.
What we are asking is that the government remove barriers for ordinary Malawians (middle and low income), create a way for many ordinary Malawians to compete effectively with wealthy investors in a fair and acceptable manner.
At all levels, our economic goals should be pro-poor with an intentional approach that seeks to empower the bottom bracket so that they can directly participate, benefit and stimulate the economy with such a robust trickle-down phenomenon.
Let us all remember that it is those at the bottom, the working class and the poor, who drive the engines of any active and healthy economy, and we must reward them fairly by providing a level playing field for local individuals.
Most economists will agree that it is the poorest who have “a higher ‘marginal propensity to consume’ and tend to spend more in the economy. This means that when more households have the opportunity to prosper or generate income, the nation collectively prospers.
The free market ideologies we try to obsess about so much can only work better in advanced economies not like ours.
We cannot bother with a policy that imposes high demand to disproportionately reward those with a capital advantage at the expense of poor, hard-working Malawians.
This one-sided approach that favors foreign investors and the rich is highly toxic, and its negative fallout will reverberate and cost the marginalized in such an unwarranted manner.
The cannabis industry will by design attract significant interests, and if we don’t solve the problems of economic justice first, we risk creating more problems without any countermeasures and without a proper strategy to control protracted conflicts.
Don’t bring politics into the cannabis industry, think about the economic justice that is there.
For comments, please email me at [email protected] – The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author.
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