Malawi businesses bemoan cash-gate effects

Indigenous Business Association of Malawi (Ibam) has bemoaned effects of Capital Hill plundering of public funds on local entrepreneurs.

Locally coined as Cash-gate, billions of Kwacha have been siphoned from government accounts through dubious deals, forcing the donors to pull out aid to Malawi, one of the poorest countries in Africa.

An in exclusive interview with Nyasa Times, Ibam president, Mike Mlombwa said the Capital Hill plundering has heavily impacted on business community as they could no longer have cordial transaction with government.

“Following the Cash-gate revelations and arrests, now it’s difficult for us to access our payments from government, which means our businesses are affected since most of entrepreneurs run on small capital,” explained Mlombwa.

Mlombwa: Its affecting us

Mlombwa said local entrepreneurs were having problems earning banks’ trust when transacting government cheques as well as other private companies.

“Now banks are difficult to process any cheque from government, we have to take days or weeks for us to have our payments and that means businesses are delayed, and we could not be able to finance other secured contracts, which is a loss of business,” added Mlombwa.

Mlombwa further said the Cash-gate has tainted the country’s international image with foreign investors reluctant of establishing businesses in the country embroiled in massive corruption and money laundering.

He said: “It will be hard for local entrepreneurs to secure trust from foreign firms or investors. Malawi is blacklisted internationally. Issues of money laundering are critical, and any foreign firm will have to think twice on either to trust us or investing in Malawi as they are afraid of working with companies suspected to be involved in corruption and money laundering”.

Mlombwa said it was up to government to restore the country’s ruptured image by cleaning out massive looting of public funds by trusted officials.

“For investors and other countries to trust us again, it will depend on how government will handle this Cash-gate issue. Our image as a country is now tainted, and that has grave effect on business fraternity,” he added.

Billions of public funds have been stolen by government officials through ghost contracts. Meanwhile, some officers have been arrested in connection to the scandal with several others currently answering theft and money laundering charges.

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