The European Union (EU) has urged the Malawi government to create a predictable and transparent business environment to woo investors and create jobs.
Speaking during the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) fair in Lilongwe on Tuesday, EU Ambassador Marchel Gerrmann said without an enabling business environment more jobs and investments may not materialise even if roads are good and irrigation schemes built.
He said: “For example, this season we have seen very low maize prices that are directly linked to export restrictions. Do you think that commercial farmers and potential investors will be keen to invest in growing maize next year?
“Without certainty that products can be exported, and without clarity under which conditions, investment will not materialise.”
Gerrmann said the ease of starting a business, availability and cost of credit, skills of the labour force are all critical to investments and creation of decent jobs.
Gerrmann however said he was encouraged that the government is determined to table the control of Goods Act in parliament next month.
His sentiments were shared by an investor who wants to venture into the food industry but is being put off by too many regulations.
The investor he has been asked to apply for a food licence, manufacturing licence, retailers licence, should have a Malawi Bureau of Standards Certificate as well as comply with issues of environmental impact assessment and occupational health and safety.
Said the investor: ”it is not that we do not want to adhere to what the government wants but the process of obtaining the licences should have been eased so that they are accessed under one roof.”
President of the Indigenous Businespersons Association of Malawi (Ibam) Mike Mlombwa said with the amended procurement law, the business environment will be more transparent.
Ministry of Trade, Industry and Tourism spokespeerson Wiskes Nkombezi said with the enactment of the Control of Goods Act, Malawi will be one of the most transparent and predictable countrieswhen it comes to doing business in this part of Africa. n