-Calls for Private sectors to take part in restoring the economy-
President of the Republic, Dr Lazarus McCarthy Chakwera has urged the private sectors to stay the course in reviving the country’s economy.
Dr Chakwera was speaking in Blantyre on Thursday when he was opening the 2022 trade fair where he tipped Private Sectors to have a crucial role to play in ensuring that Malawi realises her development aspirations.
Speaking during the ceremony, Dr Chakwera said the country’s economy is slowly but surely recovering. He outlined some of the measures that the Tonse-led Government has put in place to ensure that this recovery is quick and steady.
Chakwera said currently the government is rehabilitating railway in the country to improve fuel via rail, a development that will make the commodity cheaper.
Chakwera has referred Malawi’s economy recovery to a recovery of patient who is in coma.
He said, “In the case of a patient who is in a coma, the signs of recovery may start with the patient opening their eyes for the first time; then after a while, the patient’s fever starts to clear; then a while after that, the appetite returns and the patient is able to eat soft foods; then a while after that, the joint aches, headaches, and general physical weakness may start to disappear; then after that, an appetite for solid food may return, followed perhaps by the end of open bowels; and then you see the patient starting to sit up on their own; and so on and on it goes until the patient is fully recovered.
“That is what physical recovery looks like, but we must remember that it is the same with economic recovery.
“As you all know, Malawi’s economy has been sick and bedridden for a long time. When I took office, the symptoms of our economy’s chronic illness and multiple organ failure were everywhere: four million young people were unemployed and stampeding each other in the parking lot of any place offering a few jobs; businesses had been closing across our cities for many months; incomes for the lowest paid had been stagnant for years, while foreign direct investments into Malawi had been in recession just as long.
“And then on my arrival, we immediately started hooking up this patient to some drips, and as the medicine of new economic policies, projects, and programmes was making its way through the system, it has felt like nothing is changing. But we have refused to let that discourage us, because we knew that sooner than later, a period of true recovery would kick in and we would see the symptoms of sickness begin to subside one by one.
“And one of the symptoms now beginning to subside in our economy is the heavy loss of trade. But because we have kept the economy on some good medicine, including the medicine of a robust pro-investment policy, we are now seeing this symptom of dying trade subside.
“As a case in point, last November I went to Durban to participate in the 3rd Intra-African Trade Fair, which was put together by the Afrexim Bank in collaboration with the African Union and the Secretariat of the African Continental Free Trade Area.
“Our purpose is to aggressively chase after investors, and when we succeeded in securing the largest investment deal of any country attending that event, and even closed 2021 with an increase in investment of over ten percent, it signalled to the world that Malawi’s economy was starting to recover.”
Chakwera also said by Christmas this year, power outage will be minimised as the government has received K60 billion from World Bank to rehabilitate the Kapichira Hydro-power Station. He said that the government is targeting to be producing 100MeggaWarts by the year 2025 so that industries should be able to produce enough for export.
“With the US$60 million my Administration has secured from the World Bank for the rehabilitation of Kapichira Hydro Dam which was damaged by Tropical Storm Ana earlier this year, we expect that the long blackouts currently being experienced will be resolved by Christmas.
“Once that happens, we will get back on track with our goal to raise our power generation capacity to 1000MW by 2025, and that will make a big difference in the productivity of our industries and their capacity to trade within and across our borders,” he said.
Meanwhile, Minister of Trade and Industry, Mark Katsonga called on business diversity to survive in an economic down turn the world is experiencing due to covid 19 and the Russia-Ukraine War.
Speaking earlier, Malawi Confederation of Chambers of Commerce and Industries, (MCCCI) Chairperson Lekani Katandula singled out insufficient power as one of the challenges affecting the industrial development in the country.
Katandula called for the termination of culture of Bureaucracies in the public institutions that operate in the energy space to allow the private sectors participate fully and unhindered in generating the power.
He added that the adequate energy, manufacturing which has the greatest potential to catapult this country into economic success, can witness a boom because of its huge multipliers effects.
“Government should make it easy for private sectors to invest in the power generation. Currently the process of investing in power generation takes much longer than we think it should. So, we think that there should be a way of streamlining the process to make it easier for someone who is interested in investing in power generation curb this power outage that we are suffering from at present.
One of the exhibitors that turned up for this year’s trade fair, COMSIP says Value Adding is what they are encouraging farmers to fetch more money.
Paul Kamwendo, Cooperative Development and Investment Officer for COMSIP said their members are being trained in financial literacy and value chain processes.
“We are doing capacity building that after the training, members should be able to produce and process all the products that we produce at COMSIP. This is another opportunity for market linkage,” said Kamwendo.
This year’s Trade affair which is themed “Achieving Business resilience through market diversity” is being attended by 16 foreign companies and 182 local companies making a total of 198 exhibitors.
Companies such as SEEDCO , and Lilongwe Dairy and AGCOM were awarded as the best local exhibitors.
The International Trade Affair is back after two years it was suspended due to covid 19 and it started on 28th July and it will run through 7th August, 2022.