Malawi Confederation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (MCCCI) president Lekani Katandula says bureaucracy in the public service is posing a challenge for the private sector.
He said this yesterday in Blantyre when President Lazarus Chakwera opened the 32nd International Trade Fair at the Chichiri Trade Fair Grounds.
Katandula said: “That is the element around power generation where we are saying the government should make it easy for the private sector to invest because at the moment you have to go through a number of government agencies and sometimes you are bounced from one office to another.
“So we think there should be a way of streamlining the processes to make it easier for somebody to go into power generation and help ease the power shortages that we are suffering at present.”
While underscoring the importance of investing in the energy sector, Katandula said continued power outages adversely affect industries as most are performing below capacity.
Apart from private sector investment bottlenecks, he said the government must also ensure that the country’s exchange rates are reflective of market dynamics.
In his speech, Chakwera said the government will ensure that challenges the private sector is facing, be it barriers relating to tax, foreign exchange, exports, digitisation, access to energy or access to finance, should be solved.
He said his Tonse Alliance administration attaches a lot of importance to the private sector and as such, it compelled the Presidential Delivery Unit (PDU) to conduct a series of private sector labs last month in Lilongwe.
The President said: “In fact, plans are underway to convene a delivery lab focused on small and medium scale enterprises [SMEs] and co-operatives because as government we are fully aware of the key role that SMEs play in the growth of any economy towards middle income status as envisioned in Malawi 2063 [MW2063].”
As such, he said he wants the delivery labs to come up with innovative ways of improving the productive capacity of SMEs for value addition.
The President further said his administration’s other commitment is to create an environment that is friendly to business and trade citing the investments the government is making in energy and transportation infrastructure.
This year’s international trade fair is being held under the theme ‘Achieving Business Resilience through Market Delivery’. The trade exhibition is happening after a two-year break due to Covid-19.
On the sidelines of the event yesterday, the MCCCI awarded outstanding firms in several categories. Raiply Limited was named best exporter, Lilongwe Dairy 2001 Limited the best manufacturer, Agcom the best service provider and Bantu Arts the best SME.
India Pavilion was named the best international exhibitor while SeedCo was named the overall best exhibitor.
A total of 198 exhibitors from Malawi, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, India and Niger, among others, are participating in the fair.