Government through Malawi Enterprise Development Fund (Medea) will give soft loans to vendors who lost their merchandise to a fire accident that razed Blantyre Market last Tuesday night destroying property worth millions of kwacha, Vice-President Everton Chimulirenji has said.
Chimulirenji, who is also Minister responsible for Disaster Management Affairs Everton Herbert Chimulirenji on Thursday (October 31, 2019) visited vendors who lost their merchandise to a fire accident that occurred on Tuesday.
Speaking when he addressed the affected vendors, Chimulirenji said President Peter Mutharika was deeply saddened by the accident and loss of property and that he wants vendors to return to business .
“The President has directed that the affected vendors immediately access loans from the Malawi Enterprise Development Fund (MEDF) to assist them to get back to their feet following this tragic loss,” said Chimulirenji.
The country’s second-in-command said as an immediate intervention, government, through the Department of Disaster Management Affairs, has since provided the affected vendors with 200 bags of rice (each weighing 50kg) so that they should not suffer starvation during the period.
“This is sad development, as government we are aware that not only the business owners have been affected but their immediate families as well. We promise to be with you in this trying time,” he said.
The VP added: “This is the more reason we have come with officials from Malawi Enterprise Development Fund (Medef) to assess the impact of the financial loss and to appraise those who can get soft loans from the organisation to restart their businesses.”
Chimulirenji promised to come again “to monitor the impact of the support you will receive.”
Minister of Homeland Security Nicholas Dausi assured the gathering that security agencies will be on the ground to investigate and get to the bottom of the cause of the fire.
Minister of Local Government Ben Phiri said vendors play a crucial role in society and due to the fragility of their businesses any slight disrupt has cascading effects on the economy as such quick interventions such as rebuilding the damaged part of the market and reconnecting electricity other than the soft loans will ensure normalization of the situation.
One of the affected vendors, Conly Kanonyere, said he and his colleagues are struggling to make ends meet but thanked the vice-president and the other government officials for the visit.
Chimulirenji will this Monday visit people affected by winds that damaged houses around Chikungwa Primary School in Group Village Head Nkhataombere, T/A Nsabwe in Thyolo District, according to a statement issued by the Office of the Vice-president.
He will later address people at Thekerani Trading Centre.