President Lazarus Chakwera says he is keen about building a private sector that is capable of sustaining and spreading economic gains for citizens saying time for relying on gifts and handouts for development is over.
Chakwera, who lamented about the country’s over reliance on handouts of food aid, donor support, corruption handouts in exchange for nothing, was speaking in Lilongwe yesterday when he launched the Private Sector Lab under his Presidential Delivery Unit (PDU).
Chakwera said in building the private sector led economy, he is talking about building a private sector that is capable of mobilising and attracting both domestic and external investments.
Chakwera said: “I am talking about building a private sector that is capable of creating employment and growing incomes for citizens.
“The question we must answer together is: what must we change in order to make Malawi a place where businesses and investments find it easy to expand, export, and employ? We must be brave enough to say and hear the painful answers to this question”.
In his remarks, Malawi Confederation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (MCCCI) president Lekani Katandula urged the government to subsidise private sector production than concentrating on subsidising consumption that remains counterproductive to spur economic development.
He said big companies are failing to maximise their operations due to energy challenges and bureaucracies in the public sector hence they look forward to having such challenges unlocked during the week-long lab.
On another hand, Vice-President Saulos Chilima said the labs have come at a right time when Parliament has just passed the new Public Private Partnership Act 2022 which provides an ideal framework for an effective working relationship between the public and private sector.
The International Finance Corporation (IFC) resident representative for Malawi and Zambia Madalo Minofu said they are geared to provide private sector financing for various investments, including in the energy and agro-business sectors.
United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) resident representative Shigeki Komatsubara said the private sector faces many challenges, including access to capital and credit, access to forex and entry requirements, hampering private sector’s efforts to thrive.