A prospective launch of business in Malawi by Japanese-based second hand vehicle exporter Be Forward Japan has been received with discontent among local businesspersons trading in the industry.
The Malawi Investment Trade Centre (Mitc) spokesperson Deliby Nyale Chimbalu while confirming the company was indeed in talks with Malawi authorities on launching their business in the country could not immediately give details of the venture.
“We understand that the deal was discussed by the Malawi ambassador to Japan [with the company]. We are aware of the arrangement but we are yet to get details,” she said.
Pressed on the local vendors’ sentiments, Chimbalu described the inquiry as tricky as Mitc can only determine a response to car dealers when everything is formalised.
Malawi’s ambassador in Japan, Rueben Ngwenya, reportedly sealed the deal last week at the Tokyo headquarters of the company.
While the news was warmly greeted by ordinary individuals in the country’s middle class looking forward to affordable vehicles, some of the businesspeople have reacted differently.
Some of the businesspeople interviewed said intended move, will ruin their business and the economy at large.
“This will create Japanese jobs and not Malawian jobs. We will not compete with them, we can’t. Let the company open a vehicle assembling centre not selling points,” said a Lilongwe-based car dealer.
Another dealer said through the Used Car Importers Association, they will lobby government to withdraw from the deal, as it will increase unemployment.
“We are fully registered as an association with government and this would signal the end of our business. At Biwi Triangle alone, we are over 200 car dealers and across the country we are more than 600.
“Imagine the number of people who depend on us. We don’t want traders in this country, we need investors,” he said.
Be Forward Japan is a largely internet marketing-based company popular among Malawians and world over for people seeking affordable second hand vehicles.