MCTU presses for sectoral  minimum wage

  The Malawi Congress of Trade Unions (MCTU) has said it will engage government on plans to introduce sectoral minimum wage which could help workers in the informal employment. MCTU secretary general Denis Kalekeni said, while a sectoral wage could create disparity among the workers, setting minimum wage depending on the sectors’ profitability could help…

Malawi makes strides In financial inclusion

  Malawi seems to be on its way to achieving its vision of creating infrastructure through partnerships to enhance the quality and depth of the country’s financial inclusion, Finmark Trust has said. Finmark Trust, an independent non-profit trust, observes that Malawi’s number one priority of expanding the reach of digital payments has grown between 2015…

‘Malawi’s development  hurdles multi-pronged’

  Malawi’s development challenges are multi-pronged, which include vulnerability to external shocks such as weather and health, the World Bank has said. In its country overview, the Bretton Wood institution observes that while weather remains a key part of the economic cycle, energy shortages, infrastructure development and the adoption of new technology are low. The…

Commodity dependence worsens, says UN report

  Malawi’s continued dependence on commodity for exports has doubled in the past 20 years, a situation United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (Unctad) says could slow progress towards meeting Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030. Unctad defines a country as dependent on commodities when they account for more than 60 percent of its…

Mera hits at IPPs

  Malawi Energy Regulatory Authority (Mera) has threatened to revoke licences for independent power producers (IPPs) who fail to roll out during their specified period, saying the delay may affect further investments in the energy sector. Mera chief executive officer Collins Magalasi said in an interview that failing to roll out in time could either…

Hope as Escom signs more power deals

  Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (Escom) on Monday signed 14 Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with four Independent Power Producers (IPPs) with a total generation capacity of 542 megawatts (MW) on the national grid. The firms, Electricity Generation Company of Malawi (Egenco) with hydro power plants, namely Nkula A (24 MW), Nkula B (100 MW),…

Maize farmers raw deal on price

  Traders have started buying maize from some farmers at K80 per kilogramme (kg) against the government set minimum buying price of K150 per kg, a survey by Centre for Social Concern (CfSC) has established. The snap survey was conducted in some rural markets in Mzimba, Lilongwe, Kasungu, Zomba and Chiradzulu last week. CfSC economic…

Inflation rate drops to 9.1%

  Inflation rate for April 2019 eased by 0.2 percentage points to 9.1 percent, a development monetary authorities say signifies that the country is on course to achieve a five percent inflation rate target in the medium-term. Published figures from National Statistical Office (NSO) show that at 9.1 percent, April inflation rate is lower than…

Global oil prices Bring hope—MERA

Malawi Energy Regulatory Authority (Mera) has expressed hope of reduced local fuel pump prices following a 13.4 percent projected decline in global oil prices. The optimism is based on global oil price projections showing that oil prices will, between now and 2020, average $59.2 [about K43 808] a barrel, a 13.4 percent drop from the…

Cear first quarter profit drops 52%

  Central East African Railways (Cear) has posted a 52 percent decline in profit to $2.1 million (about K1.6 billion) in the first quarter of this year, a situation company officials say is due to an unmet target for cargo. Speaking to journalists in Blantyre on Friday, Cear finance manager Christina Chithila said the profit…

Import cover hits 3.83 months

Malawi’s gross foreign exchange reserves —a combination of official and private sector reserves— inched upwards to 3.83 months of import in March, recovering from the previous month’s fall. According to Reserve Bank of Malawi’s (RBM) second Monetary Policy Report, the gross official reserves rose to $799.48 million (about K592 billion) at the end of March…

Manufacturing sector continues to stagnate

  Malawi has over the past 30 years failed to make headway in the manufacturing sector, leaving analysts wondering whether the promotion of import substitution, industrialisation and agricultural exports is yielding results. A United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (Unido) report dubbed 2018 Competitiveness and Industrial Development has ranked Malawi 134th competitive and industrial country out…

Dubai Expo to boost FDI inflows—Ministry

  Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism says Malawi could generate $500 million (about K370 billion) worth of export orders and triple annual foreign direct investments (FDI) pledges by participating in the Dubai Expo 2020. The ministry’s Principal Secretary Ken Ndala said this on Monday in Blantyre on the sidelines of a prize giving ceremony…

Election fever affects private sector credit

  The Reserve Bank of Malawi (RBM) says political uncertainty in the run-up to the May 21 Tripartite Elections coupled with seasonal economic activity slow-down suppressed credit to the private sector in March. In its Monthly Economic Review for March 2019, the central bank said during the review month, the banking system’s outstanding claims on…

Kenya removes duty  on maize imports

Grain Traders and Processors Association of Malawi says the move by Kenya to remove duty on maize imports gives local traders in Malawi impetus to negotiate the lifting of maize export ban. The association’s president Grace Mhango said in an interview yesterday that while it is too early to conclude whether this presents a lost…

Treasury in K73.1bn third quarter deficit

  Treasury has recorded a deficit of K73.1 billion in the third quarter (January-March) of this financial year, figures from the Reserve Bank of Malawi (RBM) show. This deficit is, however, a decline compared to the deficit registered in the first quarter (July to September) and second quarter’s (October to December) of K90.8 billion and…

Economists caution on Treasury Bills rise

The Economist Association of Malawi (Ecama) has decried the rise in Treasury Bills (T-bills) which they say could adversely affect the currently positive looking macroeconomic indicators. Trading of TB’s is one of the ways through which government raises money without raising taxes. Ecama president Chikumbutso Kalilombe told Business News on Wednesday that the uptake of…

IMF engages Treasury on missed target

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) says it is still discussing with fiscal authorities on the target of primary balance—fiscal balance excluding interest payments—missed in the first half of the 2018/19 financial year. IMF resident representative Jack Ree said in an interview yesterday that the discussions are focusing on corrective measures on the unmet target of…

Banks see less impact of policy rate cut

Bankers Association of Malawi (BAM) has said while the new policy rate will affect interest rate margins in the short-term, commercial banks remain positive on gains to be accrued from increased volumes and reduced credit losses. BAM’s sentiments are in reaction to last week’s Reserve Bank of Malawi (RBM) 100 basis points cut in the…