The proposed merger of the Malawi Entrepreneurs Development Institute (Medi), Small Enterprise Development Organisation of Malawi (Sedom) and the Development of Malawi Traders Trust (Demat) into one institution has greatly affected the three bodies due to massive staff resignations and failure to access donor funds for projects.
In 2007, government directed that the three institutions should merge to form Small and Medium Enterprise Development Institute (Smedi).
While waiting for the merger, the institutions were ordered to stop recruiting, promoting and providing advances and loans to staff.
The institutions are failing to increase salaries of staff due to the same merger since performance appraisals are no longer being done.
Smedi interim chief executive officer, Charles Kazembe, who is also Medi executive director, said that the situation is worrisome because members of staff are living in perpetual fear of losing their jobs.
Speaking in an interview in Mponela on Friday, Kazembe said the merger has put the three institutions at a very huge disadvantage because they cannot hire new staff or get donor funding for new projects.
“It is a very difficult situation. Here at Medi, staff are living in fear of losing their jobs and, worse still, we cannot get funding for some of the projects that donors had already committed to fund,” said Kazembe.
Efforts to talk to officials from Demat proved futile, but according to Kazembe, the problems besseting the three institutions are similar.
Minister of Trade and Industry John Bande in an interview after addressing the employees at Medi said that he will make sure that the matter is settled once and for all because 2007 is a very long time for one to waiting for his fate.
“I will make sure that employees in the three institutions know exactly what is happening within this month. If the decision to merge was done in 2007, then someone somewhere is not doing his job right because it is like we are holding these people at ransom,” said Bande.