Limbe traders being evicted from shops in favour of high paying Chinese nationals

With the influx of Chinese nationals coming into the country as petty traders, coupled with trade liberalisation, a lot of Malawians are losing their businesses because they are being evicted from shops by their indian landlords in preference of the Chinese.

A Chinese traders breaking traffic rules by parking articulated trucks on pavemenrs to off load goods

According to Limbe Local Business Association, the Indian landlords prefer to rent to these Chinese nationals, who approach them with very high counter offers and also pay for a number of years as lease and in US dollars.

In an open petition seeking the public’s sympathy, Limbe Local Business Association say they engaged the Ministry of Trade, Blantyre City Mayor’s office,  the Immigration Department, Competition and Fair Trading Commission but and none of them has come to their rescue.

“We wrote them and also met with some of them, they just promise to investigate but no tangible solutions [have been addressed],” reads in part the open petition by Limbe Local Business Association.

“Some of the key questions thrown at them include;

* What policies has government put in place to protect indigenous people so that they not swallowed up by this mayhem?

* What sort of permits are they giving to the foreigners which allow them to open a shop on every corner that they wish?

* What value are they adding to our country by opening a shop in the name of foreign investor and only employing two people?

* Why is government allowing them to open shops and sale kaunjika (second hand clothes) and zitenje, something which Malawians can do or already do?

*The government has been talking about empowerment and we collectively employ 30 people, is government happy to send us packing while allowing Chinese to trade freely?,” reads the petition.

One of the traders, who is a direct victim but declined to be mentioned as they are receving unspecified threats from the Indians, said herself and five other Malawians have been evicted from their shops at Right Price.

“We have brought this to the attention of the Malawi public to share with them this sad development happening in Limbe because we are not being assisted by the authorities we pleaded our case to,” said the trader

“We have posted our open petition on the social media so that people can help to make this known by sharing the post to as many walls as possible so that maybe the authorities can act.”

When contacted, Blantyre City Council publicist Anthony Kasunda said he could not comment on this, saying foreign businesses are licensed by the Ministry of Trade & Industry.

In a letter to the the Ministry of Trade & Industry by the Right Price tenants, they say they have been operating businesses such as butchery, pharmacy, cosmetics, stationery, hardware and plastics and they have established very good relations with their customers over a long period of time.

“On Thursday, 12th July 2018 we were summoned to a meeting by our landlord Mr Rafiq Majid at their office premises in Limbe. Mr Majid informed us that he has sold the building which houses our shops. He went on to explain that the organization which has bought the property would like all the sitting tenants to vacate the premises by 30th September 2018.

“He then proceeded to give us letters to this effect, copies of which are attached for your reference.

After the meeting, we embarked on fact finding mission and investigations to establish the truth of the matter.

“To our total dismay, we have learnt that one of the tenants, a Chinese national who sells secondhand clothes, has not been served the notice to vacate. It has come to our attention that he has paid rentals for up to 3 years.

“If the [supposedly] new owners want all tenants out of the premises why is this Chinese national not being asked out We have also discovered that the Chinese nationals offer higher rentals and pay for longer leases. Consequently, the landlords are preferring to let out their properties to Chinese people hence crowding out indigenous small business owners.

“We appreciate that Mr Rafiq Majid; our landlord has the right to sell his property at anytime he wishes but we feel we are being treated unfairly.”

Reacting to the open petition posted on one whatsapp group, Nathaniel Chalamanda said while he agrees this is sad people should always remember that some locals have been doing the same to their fellow Malawians in the villages and sorrounding areas of city limits.

“This is food for thought. We are buying land and build houses where the villager who sold it was farming and does not have and alternative. Question is how far would a government policy go? Only to foreigners or to every one in general practicing such behaviour? On what grounds?

“While I sympathize with the victims, I also think about the plight of all those who sold land cheaply to a rich Malawian. Should the question then be, how do we empower ourselves to compete with these guys?

“What can Government to help develop these small traders that they too compete fairly when buying merchandise from outside such as taxes, knowledge on where to buy, empowerment…e.t.c.

“Is this the price of liberalisation? I honestly do not know the answer but this should be one of the major messages for the politicians’ campaign instead of just distributing petty cash handouts to buy the votes but once voted they never deliver what they promised,” Chalamanda said.

Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :

Please share this Article if you like Email This Post Email This Post

More From the World

  Subscribe  
newest oldest most voted
Notify of
mtete
Guest
mtete

This infatuation with foreign traders in general and the Chinese, Burundians, Lebanese in particular must stop. Government must have Affirmative Action to protect indigenous Malawians. Foreigners must not be allowed to engage in business which the indigenous can do. If anything, permits must be for manufacturing. Nothing will change unless and until the country has an Affirmative Action.

Given an opportunity, I would behave the same way as Indians, I.e, rent my premises to the highest bidder. Why not? It boils down to money making.

Joe
Guest
Joe

Here is how Kitwe City Council is dealing with a similar situation in neighboring Zambia. There was a meeting between the council and Chinese business community in the city. Here in Malawi our city councils are sleeping. Resolutions of meeting with Chinese nationals doing business in Kitwe 02.10.2018 1. That all chinese companies must make available their investments licence indicating nature of business, together with work permits 2. That all Chinese retail shops operating in kapoto compound, Chimwemwe, miseshi and Chamboli relocate to town centre or shopping malls and industrial area 3. That there be an approved list of items… Read more »

Achiswe
Guest

Is this what APM means when he talks about development and attracting foreign investment into the country? It is not xenophobic to give preference to native Malawians. This is one of the reasons why the UK is pulling out of the EU. It wants to support jobs for its own citizens before EU nationals. Although Asians may take out Malawi citizenship, their first allegiance is always to their mother country. The government should be legislating to protect the jobs and livelihoods of Malawians over Asian incomers. It should also be legislating to protect goods manufactured in Malawi. After the ‘fine’… Read more »

Andrew
Guest
Andrew

When the Chinese government is sending a gift of over 100 police cars…. What do you expect the government to do?

Chriss
Guest
Chriss

Blantyre City Council full of corrupt Officers… and what do you expect from them…. Just look the face of Limbe …look at the buildings, the chinese and Indians are not controlled on what kind of structures can be put in place.. what they know is to build zinthu zonyasa and take away forex to China and India.

mnyamata wa nzeru
Guest
mnyamata wa nzeru

You should have listened to your mama when she told you to work hard in class!!! Pano ma China abwera mukusowa kolowera. Musova!!!

zikomo
Guest
zikomo

boma la A PITALA Limene munalithandizila kubera ndiye osalira otherwise think twice and vote wisely come 2019…….the solution is MCP…..

Make Malawi Great
Guest
Make Malawi Great

How many africans have shops in india and china? These people have found safe heaven here we cant own pretty much anything in their native homes, they are racist to the core when it comes to how they treat us africans in these two nations those how have experienced first hand racism in china like me know what im talking about and its sad that we have poor policies and corrupt immigration officers. These chinese should only be allowed to have factories that employ not less than 5,000 locals to be given a business/investment visa. Foreign should not be allow… Read more »

Hama
Guest
Hama

When you have no leadership thats what happens. Those are corratels on Chinese Loan that looks free from leaders who cant read between the lines.

MASO ENA
Guest
MASO ENA

Write a Book Hama, I will buy it!

#DzukaniAmalawi
Guest
#DzukaniAmalawi

Corruption is so rampant in Malawi that even the issuance of business permits has become a business of its own. Malawians have reached a point where they can sell their fellow Malawians just to get a penny for food. To deal with the problem decisively, the govt needs to be strict with issuance of business licences. The Chinese traders/hawkers should only be allowed to trade in designated areas and only allowed to stock those things that are made in Malawi. FOREX is being siphoned out by these foreign hawkers via selling Chinese toys and clothes. If these Chinese want to… Read more »

More From Nyasatimes