the IMF had welcomed President Banda’s commitment to economic reform and hailed initiatives made immediately after she took office in May 2012 including the introduction of a flexible exchange rate and the automatic adjustment mechanisms of fuel prices
Africa Check points out that the IMF actually said that
“Preliminary indications are that full and vigorous implementation of these remedial measures will lead to the return of some budget support, but still leave a sizeable fiscal gap.”
This gap will need to be met by spending cuts, it warned.
Spending cuts are bad for Malawi. The country's poor sit far too close to the edge of major crisis, with fragile livelihoods, mostly dependent on smallholder farming in a context where land is getting more scarce, soil fertility is declining and markets are poorly organised and unpredictable, and rainfall is not at all consistent. Not long ago fuel and food price increases drove the populace to a rare spate of demonstrations and protests. Banda's decision to devalue the Kwacha hasn't brought down prices.
Depending on the IMF's opinion and recommendations to get back the aid they so desperately need must be particularly galling for Malawi, where the IMF's recommendations contributed to (some say were solely responsible for) a famine in the country just a decade ago.