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President Mutharika optimistic to end electricity challenges

President Peter Mutharika has said that Malawi is a land of great opportunities and possibilities and a land of untapped investment potential.
Speaking during the official opening of the Malawi Investment Forum in Lilongwe on June 11, the president likened Malawi with an island whose inhabitants did not wear shoes but a shoe making company saw a great market potential in that island.
He said: "Malawi is the African paradox of a rich country with poor people. Malawi is a small but great country. Where many see poverty, we see potential riches. Where others see challenges, we see opportunities."
He further said that Malawi is spearheading the investment drive within the Pan-African spirit of promoting private sector development and trade integration.
"I am most delighted that Malawi is hosting this investment forum at the time when Africa is remembering herself from years of economic disintegration. We are re-integrating our policies and rebuilding our bonds of doing business as a continent." Mutharika said.
The president said his government's goal is to have a smaller government and a bigger private sector. "We have undertaken aggressive reforms and ensured that we have a legal environment that protects investments. As a result of our reforms, we have drastically reduced the cost of doing business."
Adding that Malawi is ranked the third topmost reformer in Africa. "We are the 110th in the World in the latest Ease of Doing Business report by the World Bank."
The President said his government has lined up projects that will double the current power supply of 360MW to 720MW by 2020 and generate 1,000MW by 2023. He envisaged that the country will be generating 2,000 megawatts within 10 years.

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Malawi Investment Forum starts Monday

 

Investors from 29 countries across the globe meet in Lilongwe Monday to discuss possible investment deals during the third Malawi Investment Forum (MIF).
President Peter Mutharika is expected to open the two-day gathering.
According to Trade and Industry authorities, there are 24 bankable projects to be discussed under the Public-Private Partnership arrangement and 18 private sector projects to be marketed during the two-day forum.
They further indicated that 70 local Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) will be given an opportunity to exhibit their products at the event in a quest to help them find international markets for their products.
The African Union (AU) has since tipped Malawi to take the MIF as an opportunity to enhance regional integration through private sector empowerment.

 


 

Japanese Ambassador promises to mobilize Japanese businesses

The Japanese Ambassador to Malawi Kae Yanagisawa paid her maiden visit to the Malawi International Trade Fair which ended on 3rd June 2018. Adressing members of the press after her visit she said she was impressed with the exhbitions.

She said: "It is not only the private sector exhbiting but also public instutitions such as government departments as well as international exhibitors," Adding that the embassy will mobilize companies from Japan to participate in future trade fairs in Malawi.

She further said her country will continue supporting Malawi especially in the Agriculture sector.

She said that her country have programmes in place aiming at connecting Japanese businesses with Malawian businesses to promote trade between business people of the two countries.

japanese

President Mutharika cuts ribbon to officially open the 30th Malawi International Trade Fair

President Peter Mutharika on May 24, 2018 opened the 30th Malawi international Trade Fair in Blantyre with a call to industries to be on the producing end and not on the receiveing end.

He said indusrtial growth can only happen within a growing economy."We can only grow competitive industries when our economies are on the producing end and not on the receiving end,"

Mutharika said the first step his government has taken is to stabililize the economy.

He said: "We have reduced inflation to the single digit and made prices more stable and predicatble. We have kept our local currency stable and business planning more possible. We have reduced interest rates to make businesses access capital from banks more easily. We have taken our forex reserves to the highest levels to enable business trade internationally with ease,"

Adding that his government's mission is to create a productive economy where citizens participate in growing the economy hence nurturing the private sectro.

"These are times to showcase the pride of our industry” referring to the trade fair adding that he was impressed with the participation of Small and Medium Enterprises as well as International exhibitors.

“What I have seen today says one thing. From our small efforts, we can do great things for our countries. We can be ordinary men and women doing extraordinary things,” He said.

Commenting on the theme: Industrialisation: Basis for Trade Competitiveness, The president said African countries cannot progress and break out of the poverty cycle if they do not industrialise.

“Investing in industrialization is one of the best ways of supporting the private sector. The industry is the heartbeat of the private sector," He said

President Mutharika

Malawi’s National Budget 2018/2019: A Post Budget Statement Review

 

On the 18th May 2018, the Government presented the 2018/19 Budget Statement to Parliament. According to the budget statement, the key focus of the budget is robust economic growth as the main goal of economic management alongside maintenance of macroeconomic stability for robust, inclusive and sustainable growth.

The national budget remains the most important document through which policies and programmes are executed by governments. These policies and programmes have implications, either positive or negative, on private sector performance. An analysis of the budget statement is therefore very important because the statement reveals government’s position, commitments and advances it has put in place to stimulate private sector activity.

First of all, MCCCI would like to applaud Government through Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism on the efforts that have been made on ensuring that the reviewed Control of Goods Act is passed in parliament. The act now empowers the Minister to engage stakeholders before banning or restricting imports and exports of commodities. The previous Act empowered the Minister of Industry Trade and Tourism to institute bans without consultation with relevant stakeholders.

MCCCI would also like to commend Government on the job well done in its mission towards macroeconomic stability. Indeed, inflation which is at 9.7 percent as of April 2018 has continued its downward spiral as food prices, maize prices especially, continue to drop. Lending rates though still high at an average of 26.9 percent have fallen and the policy rate is at 16 percent compared to the average lending rate and policy rate of 31.6 percent and 22 percent respectively during the same period in 2017. In addition to this, exchange rate has stabilized and foreign reserves are adequate enough to cover at least 3 months’ worth of imports. The International Monetary Fund has approved a new Extended Credit Facility program with an amount of US$112.3 million and the World Bank is expected to extend a MK60 Billion concessional loan as part of budgetary support. The Extended Credit facility is subject to performance that has been agreed to ensure that key issues are dealt with if the economy can be on the right growth trajectory.

Despite these achievements, it is very surprising to note that the 2018/2019 budget has totally ignored the private sector, a sector which has the highest potential to catapult the country to economic freedom. Complementary enablers for inclusive growth and industrialization, such as immediate remedial solutions to the energy crisis that the economy is facing and incentives have not been considered in this budget.

Budget Statement Analysis

The budget, as presented by Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Development, is built on assumptions that are not strong to drive economic growth of Malawi.

The following macroeconomic targets were outlined in the 2018/19 budget statement:

  • A real GDP growth rate of 4.1 percent in 2018 and 6.0 percent in 2019.
  • An average inflation of around 7 percent.

The modest GDP growth forecast of 4.1 percent and 6.0 percent in 2018 and 2019 respectively is not enough to fix the economy, because our export base is narrow, commodity based and prone to climatic conditions. Furthermore, the average GDP growth rate of 2.4 percent for SADC as stipulated in the budget statement cannot be used as a yardstick for Malawi since countries within SADC have GDP bases which are much higher than Malawi. For instance, Zambia’s GDP for 2017 is estimated at 19.55 billion United States Dollar which is five times more than Malawi. Malawi needs at least 7 percent growth rate sustained over a period of not less than 6 years to meaningful bring a change in the economic development of the country. The quality of growth and the sectors in which the growth is generated matters. It is a very well known fact that sustainable growth cannot, and will not, happen without private sector prosperity. This sector has the potential to have a transformative impact on a struggling economy like Malawi and shift the economy from an agriculture based economy to an industrial based one. More and more countries in Sub-Saharan Africa are shifting towards value addition through industrialization. Industrialization, driven by private sector growth, has all the pre-requisites of mopping out unemployment which is one of the major challenges that Malawi is grappling with today.

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HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE STATE OF NATION ADDRESS, MAY 2018

HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE STATE OF NATION ADDRESS, MAY 2018

Procurement flaws costing businesses

The Malawi Confederation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (MCCCI) says businesses are still hopeful of improved public procurement management systems despite many of them losing business opportunities to lack of transparency in the procurement process. MCCCI director of membership development and service delivery Stella Ng’oma said this during a business outreach workshop organised by the World Bank in Blantyre. She observed that public procurement is one of the most serious and common grounds for corruption and fraud in the country. Ng’oma said the promotion of exchange gratification to secure procurement contract is the main cause of fiscal drain which undermines implementation of key activities that can help resolve business challenges and build a better private sector to drive the economy in the country. She said: “Some of the businesses have even failed to raise issues simply because of being afraid of the reprisals or being blacklisted and, therefore, suffering in silence. Even those that have ever appealed against the procurement decision, procurement process would proceed and awards made. This does not help those who appeal because they shall have lost the business and companies see no incentive to make future appeals.” The concerns follow an assessment of public procurement system in Malawi carried out from February 24 2018 to seek feedback from the private sector by the Public Procurement and Disposal of Assets Authority (PPDA) with support from the World Bank. According to the assessment findings, which had 150 respondents from the business community, 82 percent of the respondents consider that there are inadequate opportunities for qualified companies to compete fairly for contracts with 73 percent of the respondents feeling that the complaints review system is not trustworthy and consistent with findings of the case. A 2014 research by the Centre for Social Research also found that 20 percent of all procurement contracts with government involve gratification where 11 percent of the cost of the contract is paid to secure it while at the same time demanding businesses to forfeit 10 percent of the value of invoices to be paid. In Malawi, public procurement is regulated by an Act of Parliament, Public Procurement Act 2003, which has now been replaced by the Public Procurement and Disposal Act 2017.

Applications for Trade Fair participation closes today

Today the 11th May is the last day to receive applications for businesses wishing to participate in this year's Malawi International Trade Fair.

Applications for Trade Fair participation closes today

Today the 11th May is the last day to receive applications for businesses wishing to participate in this year's Malawi International Trade Fair.

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