We are a nation of contradictions. When the public asks the public officers to account, they are called jealousy. We only want to hear what would be pleasing in our ears. Take someone who asks money from you, many with intention of not paying back, if you tell them you have no money, they become angry and insult you. If you give them, excuses start right from the next day.
Malawi does not really suffer from jealousy, it suffers from lack of responsibility at all levels. I have always expressed disgust at our parliament for being too greedy in sharing public purse while they never utter a word about the need to raise minimum wage to MWK100,000.00. The we have banks, they mint billions of kwachas and refuse to loan SMEs and concessionary rate to grow their business and expect the economy to grow.
When I say lack of responsibility, it is everyone in every sector. People produce babies, knowing they will go for free maternity, free school and even free food in terms of subsidy and relief food. Everything for you will be paid for a huge animal called Government, you job is to raise babies and have fun.
Dzuka my motherland Malawi. Now we have even companies crying fyoo about electricity and their solution is to meet Government to address the challenge. These are the same companies minting billions from banks with obnoxious fees to manufacturing sectors with low pay and poor quality stuff.
Malawian stuff, even crisp can’t compete with our neighbours, Frozy taught a certain sleeping giant a lesson. The problem is that even the private sector has no sense of responsibility at all. They don’t seek solutions, the seek tax cuts, low and cheap labour (see how many protested minimum wage hitting US$30 dollars in July) and then viola increase their benefits even when companies are bleeding.
Malawian CEOS and Managers are overly paid, rated and have no productivity indicators. Actually some boards like Press Corporation, Carlsberg and NICO already have long list of succession plan that it is difficult for a young brain to come from outside the old boys circle and make it.
Look at Malawians of Asian origin-FMB, they have grown business, expanded enough to absorb the whole OIBM and move outside Malawi to compete at regional level. Our talkative-but-poor-in-action CEOs cant compete in the region. Only a few marketers like Maurice Newa have managed to break the international market. The rest of our Managers cant get a job beyond a circle of friends and some actually specialise in running down companies.
You might not like Leston Mulli of Mulli brothers, but he is one of few Malawians who think outside the box. He has expanded into Mozambique, sales directly into Middle East and China and even when buses did not make sense, he brought double decker buses.
Compare a Malawian run hotel and that of Asian or white run tourists centres, Malawian tourism centres shun the internet whilst their friends are getting bookings online and accept visa payments. We have managers and institutions still using gmail for official business and people are very proud to be called Marketing managers in those institutions- they have no idea about branding and imaging.
The list of useless private but greedy sector is long. Confederation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry no longer carries the clout it used to during the days of Harry Thomspon, Martin Kansichi and recently Jimmy Korea Mpatsa. The MCCCI has a market event once a year wrongly called trade fair, where people are allowed to sale kaunjika and hastly designed pavilions. No wonder most foreigners stopped. Take a look at MCCCI website, they seem to be waiting for a Chinese donation to improve it.
Why am I saying all this. There are creative and innovative private sector, mainly in telecommunications industries. Banks can innovate, but they have no idea to expand. I read a story of National Bank with one branch in Mzuzu, no centre in Nkhatabay, Ekwendeni or Chikangawa which leads to congestion. Nobody cares, because nobody gives a damn about their customers. Then you have the story of NBS ATM machines.
Then you have mysterious deductions. Let me spare you the obvious online fiasco of our banks where money disappears and I am charged MWK7,500 by National Bank for electronically transferring MWK350,000 kwacha to FDH Bank. If I sent my young brother, it was going to cost me MWK1,000 maximum. Only in Malawi where technology instead of reducing the cost of doing business, it increases it. Very sad and stupid. Look at Mobile money transactions- simply rip off charges by Airtel and TNM instead of being cheap and cost effective. I will stick to my cash until Malawian companies stop stealing at every opportunity.
Yes, Dzuka Malawi, the private sector responsibility is to reap off us our meagre earnings and ask us tax payer to find solutions to their production quandary.
Now MCCCI, instead of plotting to squeeze Government on electricity, here is how you go about it and take me serious if you are serious about solutions of challenges you face. Unless you are hypocrites the way you have been, please do not even read this.
1. Malawi is a very warm country, that means the it is possible to install solar systems and use it the whole year. Yes may be you didn’t understand- the sun and its heat can give you electricity you need. Ask Edgar Kapiza he is going to provide 833 families with electricity from US$250,000 only.
2. The cost of solar has gone down considerably. This means you can produce 100 megawatts- enough to power the whole Makata and Kanengo Industrial estates at only US$50 million or MWK3.5 billion. The system lasts 30 years before replacement and can be set up and running in 90 days.
Now Dzuka MCCCI. MWK3.5 billion is pocket change for thieving industries. Banks made around MWK60 billion kwacha in profits last year in total. If each put up MWK50 million, you need only 100 companies- MCCCI has 250 on its list. If all contributed, you can have 200 megawatts, which is close to what our power plants generate.
It gets better, you can have solar farms near your industries and operate the whole afternoon on solar energy, no electricity bill, no blackout no need to meet any Minister. Kanengo Industries can have own solar farm, Makata the same, Luwinga the same, Nchalo the same, Dwangwanso chimodzimodzi.
In 30 years, no blackout you can plan production increase. And solar equipment is tax free! It means since you only have farms and no batteries, you will only use ESCOM electricity at night when most people do not need it and your offices are closed. Voila that’s a solution.
Now before you jump into your MWK100 million kwacha vehicles and play golf or donate at DPP blue night or secretly to Lazarus Chakwera, stop outside your office today, look at the sun. That’s your solution to crying like babies in 21st century. If each company sold two of their MWK1OO million vehicles- they would easily contribute to their pool of renewable energy source.
Otherwise, I have been to so many companies across the world, even in Thyolo and Mulanje tea estates, they produce own electricity at most farms. Companies in Malawi can even use rooftops and bring energy revolution, that we will utilise for once, God given natural resource to empower ourselves- mwana a MCCCI, Dzukani chonde! Contact Edgar Kapiza in Mchinji or do a study tour to his project where only US$250,000 will lit up the whole community.
Postscript: Understanding Julius Mithi
The Malawi media woke up to a shock of having some of their seniors exposed of petty gossip and leaked to the ridicule of the public. I felt the one gossiping went too far to trust a party cadet, whose meal has come from social media propaganda and defending Harry Mkandawire at all time. For many who did not know him, his stupid stunt of recording and leaking the conversation- which he does with everyone on behalf of two political parties and his major benefactor in Lilongwe, Julius Mithi has always been a pretender who only speaks to boost his ego and pretend he is among big politicians in Malawi. His leaking of the tape should warn all those that have sent him or spoke to him of confidential matters from any angle- he always betrays everyone he speaks to, to the next guy. Those who congregate with him and share secrets with him should be worried, those that hit his inbox should be worried. Social exclusion should hit him hard, like the cold ice water Soviet Union spies were subjected, let him drink and gossip alone. For Malawi media, well, don’t trust party cadets with your secrets- they don’t keep any!Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :