By Kondanani Chilimunthaka
President Lazarus Chakwera on Friday, 16th June, 2023 described protection of wildlife as paramount to Malawi, saying 70% of the country’s tourism is natural based.
Chakwera was speaking at Kamuzu Palace during the signing of a working agreement between Malawi Government and Peace Parks Foundation aiming at co-management of sustainable development of Trans frontier conservation areas of Nyika Plateau and Vwaza Marsh Wildlife Reserves.
Chakwera said the country is facing challenges of low productivity and fraud in its economy that need to be addressed.
“The country has not been producing enough goods and services of value to create the wealthy, the jobs, and food necessary to end poverty, and the little that we do produce was being smuggled out through fraud and with no remittances of revenue to the country. Now my administration is determined to defeat these twin evils”. Said the President.
Malawi leader added that he is aware that those benefiting from these evils are going to fight back with their campaigns on the government. But the President openly challenged that his administration will not retreat or surrender to that until the Malpractices are defeated using the ATM Strategy.
The President further said his government in the quest to defeat fraud has intensified the war against lawless economic activities in areas of Agriculture, Tourism, and Mining which he said has angered cartels which conduct illegal economic activities in the country.
“Any person from any country that is conducting economic activities in Malawi illegally or not remitting to the country the taxes that are prescribed by law is an enemy of Malawian people, and we are not going to treat their illegality and greed with kid gloves”. Lamented President Chakwera.
He then described the signing of the agreement for Co-management of Nyika National Park and Vwaza Marsh Reserve as a victory for Malawi in it quest to build a legitimate economy in the tourism sector.
“The partners will go a long way to give us the ammunition we need for our war against illegal wildlife trade and poaching that has historically targeted our accounting species such as elephants, Rhinos, and Pangolins”. Added President Chakwera.
In his remarks, Former President of Mozambique, Joachim Chisano said he was privileged to be part of the signing agreement, describing it as a solid moment for the two parties.
“Peace Parks Foundation fully commits its at most efforts to ensure the success of this initiative”. Said Chisano who is also the Vice Chairperson for Peace Park Foundation.
On her part Minister of Tourism, Verah Kantukule said the agreement puts the government and private sector at equal footing, and encouraged the communities surrounding tourism facilities to be taking part in the operations of such facilities.
Said Kantukule; “This is a unique partnership that our government is entering into with Peace Parks Foundation. It is an agreement that for the first time is bringing government and the private sector together in these issues on equal footing not on concession”.
Representing Peace Parks Foundation, Werner Myburgh, congratulated President Chakwera and his administration for leading the way in the new initiative, saying the agreement is in the best of government and private sector.