President Peter Mutharika on Tuesday held talks with a group of prospective British investors who are in the country on a five-day scheduled trade and investment mission.
During the meeting held at Kamuzu Palace in Lilongwe, the investors committed to bring foreign direct investment into Malawi especially in energy, engineering, irrigation, water development and infrastructure development.
These prospective investors are heads of companies which, according to Mutharika, have a strong reputation for quality, innovation and integrity in the United Kingdom which will help towards the social-economic growth of Malawi.
Mutharika said presently Malawi is a net importing and consuming country, but pointed out that his goal is to see the nation becoming a producing and exporting country “within a span of five years – a very ambitious goal indeed, but one that we believe is attainable”.
“Malawi offers, as you will notice and experience as you go around and meet various players in our economy, unlimited opportunities for investment both directly and under a Public-Private Partnership framework.
“In order to achieve this, we need industry to substitute imports and to export, and this is where you come in,” said Mutharika.
He said the country’s economy has experienced consistent growth over the last few years, with agriculture being an important contributor representing 32% of GDP in 2012.
According to the World Bank, Malawi’s GDP growth has grown steadily over the last two year, and is predicted to grow to 5.1% in 2016.
“In addition to increasing domestic demand for Malawi products, there is potential for Malawi to serve regional and global markets. Malawi has duty and quota free access to the EU under the Everything But Arms (EBA) framework, Enjoys tariff preference for exports to China, enjoys duty free access to India, and preferential trade benefits from the USA under AGOA.
“Recently, Malawi signed the Tripartite agreement which makes it party to a combined market of over 700 million people and that merges the SADC, COMESA regions with the EAST African Community (EAC). Manufactured products within this region are traded duty free within this region,” explained Mutharika.
He further claimed that Malawi has since 2012 undertaken a number of regulatory and institutional reforms focusing on reducing the regulatory and institutional burden to doing business.
These include streamlining processes that make it faster, easier and cheaper to start a business.
He said government has also reduced the number of procedures and time it takes to construct, occupy and connect a structure to utilities in Malawi from 18 procedures and 200 days to 10 procedures and 56 days, respectively.
“Government has also reduced scrutiny fees from 0.8% of cost of the floor area to 0.4% since the fee is not directly related to provision of services.
“Furthermore, planning approvals have been reduced from 60 days to 30 days, while the consultation process has been reduced from 21 days to 14 days,” said Mutharika.
He further emphasized, “In order for us to become a producing and exporting country we require the necessary tools; that is, the requisite industry and infrastructure that will produce and support production for both import substitution and export activities, and this is why you, my dear friends, are a very important ally to Malawi”.
Mutharika therefore said his government is committed to improving efficiency and effectiveness in the way the public sector supports private investors, and one of these commitments is being demonstrated through the One Stop Service Center which his administration established at the Malawi Investment and Trade Center late 2014.
“The purpose of the One Stop Service Center is to ensure that investor permits are granted at one place and in the shortest time possible so that establishment of your investment is not delayed.
“You are allowed to invest in any sector of the economy without discrimination, as long as it is in an investment area that is productive to the economy of Malawi.
“Furthermore, you are allowed to repatriate 100% of all your profits and dividends, and all your capital upon disinvestment. Our constitution protects foreign assets such that they can never be nationalized. We also party to the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA) convention and to the International Center for the Settlement of Disputes,” explained Mutharika.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :