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MCCCI hails MERA on electricity tariff decision

The Malawi Energy Regulatory Authority (MERA) has been applauded for considering stakeholders suggestions in its decision to increase electricity base tariff by 31.8% as opposed to the requested 60% by ESCOM.

Announcing the increase which will be implemented from 2018 to 2022, a statement from MERA indicated that detailed analysis of the application also reflected on the issues and concerns that were raised by stakeholders during public hearings that it conducted.

MCCCI was among the stakeholders that lobbied for scrutiny of the application, to avoid pushing unnecessary costs to the end user.

MCCCI, Chief Executive Officer, Chancellor Kaferapanjira, cautioned that 60 percent electricity tariff increase in a single financial year could send major shock waves to the economy and that the end user will be the one to bear most of the burden.

MCCCI also suggested removal of unexplained overheads which had no direct benefit to the end user which could have inflated the tariffs.

“The inability of ESCOM to collect debts from Government institutions and some ‘private sector players’ should not burden the end user with a high tariff. We propose that this provision of 3% be removed. We propose that lower increments in the tariff structure go to businesses especially SMEs in line with the Malawi Growth and Development Strategy III,” Said Kaferapanjira in his presentation during one of the consultation meetings held by MERA.

Reacting to MERA’s decision, Kaferapanjira said he was thrilled that, MERA has implemented at least five of the suggestions that MCCCI provided.

Said Kaferapanjira: “We are thrilled that MCCCI managed to influence the reduction of the proposed increase to only 20 percent for the first year as opposed to the requested 60 percent. The increase needed to happen, whatever the case, as we needed a cost reflective tariff in order to attract potential investors into the sector. What we did was to ensure that inefficiencies shouldn't be built into the tariff,”

The 31% increase, translates into K21.92/kWh increase and an average tariff of K95.15/kWh against the average of MK117.64/kWh requested by ESCOM.

ESCOM applied for a 60% third base tariff increase which would have moved the average tariff by K44.07 from MK73.23/kWh to MK117.30/kWh.

 

Mzuzu Trade Fair

Assess impact of Interest rate capping first’

Members of the private sector has asked for a thorough assessment of the impact to the economy and financial sector if Malawi is to pass a law on capping Interest Rates.

A capped rate is an interest rate that is allowed to fluctuate, but which cannot surpass a stated interest cap. A capped rate loan issues a starting interest rate that is usually a specified spread above a benchmark rate.

The views were shared at a consultative meeting organized by the Parliament of Malawi in Blantyre.

Addressing the meeting, Member of Parliament for Dowa West, Kusamba Dzonzi said the consultations follow a motion moved in Parliament in 2016 by Member of Parliament for Dedza North West Alekeni Menyani, after noting exorbitant interest rates on loans obtained from banks and other lending institutions which resulted in property loss due to non-payment.

“It is evident in this country that for a long time, the financial institutions have been charging unjustifiable and exorbitant interest rates,” He said.

President of Indigenous Business Association of Malawi (IBAM), Mike Mlombwa concurred with Dzonzi that there is need for deliberate policies such as capping of interest rates if SMEs are to survive.

“We have been attending such meetings, now it’s almost five years but the results are not coming out. There is need to expedite research and see if our economy can survive if caps are introduced,”

However, Bankers Association of Malawi President Paul Guta said the proposed bill could be solving symptoms instead of the root cause of high interest’s rates in Malawi.

“Let us find solutions of what should be done to the economy to have affordable interest rates. The high rates are as a result of so many factors that include; operational factors such as electricity and connectivity as well as inflation,” He said.

 

MCCCI to hold Mzuzu Trade Fair

In the spirit of promoting trade in all the regions of the country, the Malawi Confederation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry will hold the 3rd Mzuzu Trade Fair from 5th to 7th October 2018 at Taifa Carpark Ground in Mzuzu.

The fair will be held under the theme ‘Industrialization: Basis for Trade Competitiveness’.

 “The Mzuzu Trade Fair shall accord you the unique opportunity for your business exposure not only in the Northern Region, but also across Malawi, Tanzania in particular.  We expect to have local as well as international exhibitors at the fair,” Said MCCCI

 MCCCI therefore invites businesses to participate in the 3 - day trade fair which will provide an opportunity to showcase products and services, connect and collaborate with entrepreneurs, industry leaders and academicians.

 To participate, register by filling and returning an application form available at www.mccci.org. Terms of participation are detailed on the application form.

 

MCCCI to hold Mzuzu Trade Fair

In the spirit of promoting trade in all the regions of the country, the Malawi Confederation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry will hold the 3rd Mzuzu Trade Fair from 5th to 7th October 2018 at Taifa Carpark Ground in Mzuzu.

The fair will be held under the theme ‘Industrialization: Basis for Trade Competitiveness’.

“The Mzuzu Trade Fair shall accord you the unique opportunity for your business exposure not only in the Northern Region, but also across Malawi, Tanzania in particular.  We expect to have local as well as international exhibitors at the fair,” Said MCCCI

 MCCCI therefore invites businesses to participate in the 3 - day trade fair which will provide an opportunity to showcase products and services, connect and collaborate with entrepreneurs, industry leaders and academicians.

To participate, register by filling and returning an application form available at www.mccci.org. Terms of participation are detailed on the application form.

President Mutharika to develop rural based industrialisation package

President Peter Mutharika opened the 15th National Agriculture Fair with an assurance to develop a rural agro-based industrialisation package. The president said his government will also expedite the opening of an Agricultural bank to improve access to finance by farmers.

Said Mutharika: “We must empower farmers with capital, we must continue to establish credit facilities to support them. That is why we are establishing the Agricultural bank.”

Speaking at the opening ceremony, MCCCI President , Mr Prince Kapondamgaga said government should set out a policy framework that would provide an incentive for organized farmers to invest in the sector and promote agro-processing and value addition. In the picture President Mutharika, flanked by Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development and MCCCI President cuts a ribbon.

 

 

Private sector involvement to end smuggling: MCCCI

The Malawi Confederation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (MCCCI) has proposed stiffer penalties to perpetrators of smuggling if the vice is to end.

Director of Business Environment and Advocacy, Madalitso Kazembe, said MCCCI has established that local manufacturing industries are significantly affected by smuggling in the country.

Said Kazembe: “Private sector involvement in the fight against smuggling can be effective as they are the ones that are being affected more. Smuggling can only end if its cost including the cost of being caught is higher than the revenue derived from the sale of the smuggled goods,”

She alleged that, high corruption levels at the ports and border points are factors promoting the malpractice as it lowers the cost of smuggling.

“Putting in place stiff penalties and addressing the issues of corruption at the border points will therefore assist in protecting the local industry from unfair competition they face due to the smuggled products,” She said.

She said that smuggling has proven to be among the biggest challenges in the manufacturing sector in Malawi as it affects production levels for most of the manufacturing companies in the country.

“It is therefore high time the government and the private sector worked hand in hand in addressing the issue as the current mechanisms have failed to yield satisfactory results due to high corruption rates among the government officials,” She said.

Studies by MCCCI have shown that the private sector is willing to financially support and involve itself in tip off anonymous system and other measures put in place to tackle the issue.

 

Call for businesses to submit applications for SADC funding

The SADC Ministerial Task Force on Regional Economic Integration is calling on private sector companies and businesses that have project ideas to submit applications to the Ministry of   Industry, Trade and Tourism for funding before the 10th of September 2018.

 In a letter signed by Secretary for Industry, Trade and Tourism, Ken Ndala, the call follows an approval of the Industralisation Strategy and Roadmap 2015-2063 by SADC Heads of States and Government in 2015 in Zimbabwe to   develop regional value chains.

 “In pursuant to develop regional value chains, the Ministerial Task Force on   Regional Economic Integration at its meeting held in July 2018 in Pretoria, South Africa, urged member states to submit project ideas and recommendations on value chains for the SADC Secretariat to consolidate a     portfolio of these value chains,” Reads the letter in part.

The letter further said that, the strategy document, emphasized participation in national, regional and global value chains due to its critical role in expanding production possibilities and enhancing cross border utilization of both natural and human resources.

 The strategy prioritises agro processing, mineral beneficiation, pharmaceutical, capital goods, consumer goods and services.

The submissions will help the SADC Secretariat to among other things source potential donors for the projects.

For more contact Silas Sindi on: 0888860996, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it /sisindi@yahoo.co.uk

 

Private sector opportunity for NORAD funding

The private sector in Malawi is encouraged to apply for an open call for applications for funding from Enterprise Development for Jobs, which is a funding scheme for private sector development, run by the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad).

 In a letter, NORAD said Malawi is one of nine prioritised countries in the project. The following five sectors will be given priority in this round:

  • Energy
  • Agriculture, including agro-processing
  • Fish and marine resources
  • Maritime sector
  • Information and Communications Technology

These are some of the key requirements for the applicants:

  • The applicant must cover at least 50% of the costs for the applied project with own funds.
  • The minimum grant size is NOK 500 000, approx. USD 60 000.
  • The applicant must document access to the necessary and sufficient financial resources to implement and follow up the investment.
  • Applicants without audited accounts for the last three years must otherwise demonstrate access to the required financial resources.
  • As a general rule, the applicant must have an annual turnover of at least NOK 10 million.

 

The full call text is available here: https://grants.mfa.no/#call/1181

 

 

National Agriculture Fair change of Dates

The Malawi Confederation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry would like to advise the general public and exhibitors that the dates of the National Agriculture Fair have changed.

The fair will now be held from 12th to 15th of September 2018 instead of 30th August to 2nd September 2018. The venue and theme remains the same

MCCCI sincerely apologizes for any inconveniences this change may have caused.

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