Malawi Government has embarked on a project aimed at collecting information for all garages in the country with the aim of flushing out car repair shops that are not properly registered or are not registered at all.
Since 1994 most garages were established in cities, towns as well as districts without following proper procedures.
In Lilongwe, Blantyre and Mzuzu most garages are situated in residential areas some without proper equipment .
In an interview in Lilongwe, director of Trade in the Ministry of Trade and Industry Christina Zakeyu said government has since taken action as things were getting out of hand.
She said government has finally provided funding for the project and officials from the ministry will be visiting garages in Lilongwe and thereafter move to other districts.
“What we have discovered is that there are many illegal garages in the country, some without proper registration documents. To make matters worse, other garages were not registered and such will be closed. Most garages do not have adequate safety equipment and this puts employee’s lives at risk,” said Zakeyu.
Owner of one of the oldest garages in Lilongwe, speaking on condition of anonymity, said illegal garages have compromised service delivery because they employ anybody, including unqualified mechanics.
‘These people have put us out of business because most car owners find them cheap. What is surprising is that even some government and parastatal vehicles have been repaired in these garages and yet the owners of these garages do not remit tax to MRA [Malawi Revenue Authority],” he said.
Consumers Association of Malawi (Cama) executive director John Kapito commended government for its decision to flush out the illegal garages saying they are contributing to environmental degradation.