Malawi government is set to table three bills in Parliament during the mid-term budget review intended to ease the cost of doing business.
In an interview on Monday, Malawi’s Minister of Industry and Trade Sosten Gwengwe said the Companies Bill, Personal Property and Security Bill and Insolvency Bill will be tabled before the august House.
The bills come at a time Malawi slipped six steps from 151 to 157 on 2013 World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business (DB13).
The report ranks 185 economies based on ease of doing business in the areas of registering property, getting electricity, protecting investors, enforcing contracts and trading across the border, among other things.
Gwengwe said government is working hard to improve business climate in the country.
He said the Companies Bill will ease hassles companies face in registering companies, adding that if passed, it will enable firms to register electronically.
“Insolvency Bill seeks to streamline the process of making a company insolvent so that the process is clear and transparent,” said Gwengwe.
Under the bill, he said government also wants to protect interests of different creditors as it will give room for companies to reorganise themselves before winding up.
The minister said the Personal Property Security Bill will help small and medium-scale enterprises to access credit using movable assets such as motor vehicles as collateral.
“It is a fact that Malawi is not doing well at the moment on access to credit. But this is what the [Personal Property Security] Bill wants to do, to reduce risks to creditors, among other things,” said Gwengwe.
He was optimistic that Malawi will improve on the World Bank’s next index.
When she opened the 44th Session of Parliament on Friday, Malawi’s President Joyce Banda also said her government is committed to creating pro-business environment in a country.
He cited the formulation of the Business Licensing Act, Business Registration Act, Companies Act (amendment) and Investment and Export Promotion Act as the manifestation of her government’s commitment to ease doing business in Malawi.
“I have directed that we must improve Malawi’s ranking from the current 157 to among top 100 on the World Bank Doing Business Index,” said Banda.
She added that government is also in the process of establishing a National Single Window in the country to reduce the time and costs of processing trade documents when importing and exporting goods and services.
Intermittent power and water supply, poor infrastructure, instability of the kwacha, high lending rates and transport costs are some of the factors that frustrate investors.