Local secondhand motor vehicle traders have complained that foreigners who are involved in the business are driving them out of the enterprise.
Speaking in an interview when members of Blantyre’s three groups—Trade Fair, Kristwick and Limbe-Agason Motor Traders—visited Nation Publications Limited on Monday, the groups complained that the businesses they deal in is small-scale as such it has to be left to Malawians.
“If foreigners come to Malawi to do small businesses, including trading in secondhand cars, what will Malawians be doing? These foreigners have capital and have opened bonded warehouses where they keep their vehicles which are apparently along roads, therefore, exposing them to customers. If these foreigners drive us out of small businesses what will be left of Malawians,” said Kelvin Saeluzika, Kristiwick Motor Traders vice-chairperson.
Vice-chairperson for Trade Fair Motor Traders Medium Nyirongo said local traders do not evade taxes, hence contribute to the country’s development apart from fending for their families and employing other Malawians.
Kristiwick Motor Traders spokesperson Eliah Chisambiro said they earlier engaged government through the Ministry of Industry and Trade but nothing has been done.
The traders also expressed concerns about reports that BeForward, a Japanese secondhand motor dealer, would be investing in Malawi.
The groups warned that they would take unspecified action if their concerns are not addressed.
But in a telephone interview on Tuesday, Ministry of Industry and Trade spokesperson Wiskes Nkombezi said they do not have any records of meetings with the groups on the said issues.
“The meeting might have been informal. I have checked with the relevant department and we do not have anything on record. However, any foreigner can engage in any business in Malawi as long as they meet the legal requirements of doing business in Malawi, including adhering to the Business Lincencing Act and Immigration laws,” said Nkombezi.
According to the Business Licensing Act, a foreigner can do any business in Malawi if the investment is at least $250 000 (about K100 million).
He, however, warned against treating some Malawians as foreigners based on their skin colour.