Malawi Faces 26 Economic Growth Hindrances
BLANTYRE: Unless government addresses obstacles to doing business, captains of the country have challenged that it will be hard for the private sector to help in generating the much needed forex to drive the country’s economy.
Malawi Confederation of Chambers of Commerce ranks electricity as the number one obstacle out of some 26 hindrances disturbing the business environment in Malawi.
It says this has led to a decrease in the quantity and quality of goods that the country manufactures for exports to compete with the goods imported for the country’s development.
Economic data from both government and private sector indicate that Malawi is a net importer yet it generates limited amounts of forex for imports.
This is because Malawi produces fewer exports which have been agricultural based since 1896.
Leaders in the business sector say, while realizing that they need to help government to generate forex that would meet the demand required for imports, government need to take action by creating an enabling business environment.
Group Chief Executive for Press Group of Companies, Dr. Mathews Chikaonda, says electricity remains a big challenge pushing away investors that would have set up companies for Malawi to change from being a net importer to an exporter.
He appealed to government to put up policies that will give the private sector an opportunity to assist in improving the energy sector to boost the quality and quantity of products manufactured for exports in the country.
The Malawi Confederation of Chambers of Commerce cites results from a survey conducted by the World Bank in the year 2009 which revealed that 53.4 percent of the Malawian companies use foreign inputs but only 6.4 percent of their export products generate forex for use in the business sector.
Players in the business sector admit that there is need add value to the products that the country exports but have asked government to remove obstacles that hinder businesses from adding value to fuel diversity in the export sector.
Apart from improving the energy sector and removing some of the obstacles, business captains suggest that there is serious need for a comprehensive communication strategy on the part of government to the private sector over policies and strategies that government initiates.
While commending government for initiating dialogue with the private sector on forex generation and exports diversification, the business sector have asked government to take seriously the suggestions put forward by the private sector otherwise the players will become frustrated and boycott future meetings.
The ministry of finance held a consultative meeting with the general public and capitations of the industry on Saturday, Feb 5 in Blantyre to discuss ways of improving the country’s forex inflows and diversity export products.—Zodiak Online
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