Banda govt aims to improve business environment

President Joyce Banda has said her government will ensure that business environment in Malawi is improved in order to create employment and enhance exports, which would earn Malawi the much-needed foreign exchange.

Speaking when she officially opened the 24th Malawi’s International Trade Fair at the Trade fair Grounds in Blantyre on Friday, the President disclosed that her government has outlined a comprehensive economic recovery plan for the economy which will focus on the short, medium and long term.

“In the immediate term, Government is dealing with monetary, fiscal and revenue policies including foreign exchange rate adjustment and expenditure control in order to bring the economy back on track,” she said.

The Malawi leader said some of the strategies that Government is focusing on include prudent fiscal and monetary policies; private sector-led industrial production through the application of science and technology; sound and sustainable management of the environment; promotion of commercial agriculture using environmentally friendly technologies; agro-based industrial expansion; export promotion based on diversification and competitive advantages; increased investments in social services; and accelerated decentralization as the key mechanism for policy implementation.

President Banda at the opening of Trade Fair. Photo by Living Kalimanjira/Nyasa Times

The President said her administration aims to reduce the number of days associated with registering and licensing a business in this country and enhance administrative services for business registration, licensing and closure.

“This will reduce the time taken to license various business activities including wholesale and retail trading, tourism and travel agency, construction and industrial,” said President Banda.

The Head of State disclosed that her government would also introduce efficient tax and VAT systems that encourage greater compliance and help to formalize the economy which brings important benefits to government and business; streamline customs processes which will help encourage cross-border and international trade; modernize tax administration by improving customer services and communications at the Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA).

“By stimulating new business opportunities, robust customs systems can help enhance competitivity and ensure greater compliance. This process aims to streamline administration of domestic taxes at the MRA in order to reduce time and costs faced by business tax-payers; reducing the time it takes to process VAT, income and employment tax returns. It will also allow for tax clearance certificates to be issued within reasonable time.

“The key objectives of this process include capacity building and training, improving communications and customer care at the MRA. The project will increase transparency, create a fair, competitive and consistent tax regime and a more conducive business environment in Malawi,” said the President.

The President then noted that worldwide, there is realization that trade is a formidable force in unleashing economic development. Among the world wide recognized tools for unleashing that potential are Trade Fairs, she said.

“These offer an opportunity to the business community to showcase their products, services and investment opportunities to potential buyers and investors. Through the various interactions by the business community trade and Investment deals get concluded which have a bearing on a country’s productive capacity,” she said.

She said the theme of this year’s Trade Fair “Realizing our vision the export way” was in tandem with her Government’s vision of creating wealth through economic growth and job creation as a means of achieving poverty eradication.

“To realize this vision, among others, Government will focus on enhancing capacity for increased production for the export market,” said the Head of State.

The President commended the exhibitors “for the high quality of the products on display I saw as I toured the pavilions.

“I am optimist that you will find new buyers for your products, and in addition you will utilize the opportunity to learn from other exhibitors’ experiences in their trade and investment promotion endeavors. I congratulate the management of the Malawi Confederation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry for the excellent organization of this year’s fair,” she said.

Malawi Confederation of Chambers of Commerce (MCCCI) President Mathews Chikankheni said during the short period that President Banda has been in office, government has made significant economic reforms that will ensure business thrives.

Trade and Industry Minister John Bande said Banda’s administration shall ensure that the private sector is supported as it is the engine for economic growth.

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