, BLANTYRE, Dec 30 – Malawi President Bingu wa Mutharika on Thursday decreed that new foreign banks and businesses declare where they will send profits before being allowed to operate in the country.
The Reserve Bank of Malawi and the Ministry of Trade were not to “allow foreigners or anyone else to open a bank or business here unless they tell us where our forex is going,” the President said in a speech that was broadcast on national radio.
Foreign banks and South African chain stores “make millions of money every day and ask them where they take the money … they don’t even have bank accounts in Malawi”, he said at a rally of mostly peasant farmers in central region Ntcheu.
“I am doing this not to be troublesome, but our money is in Mumbai, France, London, Hong Kong and Dubai.”
“You are poor because those who have your money are putting it abroad. Your forex which you generate through cultivation of cash crops is outside the country,” he told the gathering.
“Open your eyes and see what is happening with your money.”
Malawi is battling severe fuel and foreign exchange shortages, in a country where 39 percent of the 13 million people population live on less than a dollar a day.