Malawi government to close illegal foreign businesses

Malawi Government has said it will close down all foreign businesses operating illegally in the country as one way of promoting Malawian small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

Minister of Trade and Industry, John Bande, said this Thursday on the sidelines of this year’s International Small and Medium Enterprises trade fair currently underway in Lilongwe

He pointed out that with the current scenario; the foreign traders were offering unfair competition to local traders who were being forced out business.

Minister of Industry & Trade, Malawi, John Bande

“If we are to eradicate poverty completely in this country then one way of doing that is promoting Malawian to engage in business. We cannot do that unless we create a conducive environment for our local traders,” said the Bande.

The minister revealed that government was in the process of formulating an SME policy and exports strategy which will aide in the promotion of local trade by helping them produce quality goods which can compete on the international market.

Said Bande; “As one way of showing governments commitment and effort, we are in the process of drafting a policy which will address some of the problems that the local traders are currently facing like awarding of licenses and the minimum capital a foreigner must have when he wants to open a business in the country.

“If they want to open business they are welcome but they should follow proper procedures and we will even buy from them.”

While acknowledging the frustration the local traders were currently facing because of what he termed unfair competition on the market from foreigners, the minister advised them (local traders) not to take the law into their own hands as they are proper channels to be followed as provided in the laws of Malawi.

National Association for Small and Medium Enterprises (NASME) director, William Peter Mwale, bemoaned lack of exposure on the part of local traders a situation he said is slowing the local traders down.

He said this scenario is apparent in the level of exhibitions from the country in comparison with the foreign ones.

“If the government could have offered us an opportunity to participate in activities of this nature outside the country we could have gained a lot.

“ Such forums offers a linkage to markets and also a platform of interaction where you acquire new tricks but am optimistic that we will get there when we take the path the government has taken,” said Mwale.

He, however, urged government and the private sector to offer support to the small and medium enterprises as it is one sector that employs a lot of people in the country.

Mwale applauded commercial banks that have started giving out loans to business people without demanding collateral.

He said the approach had made a positive contribution to their business and their livelihoods as well.

The one week event which is supposed to end this Saturday, has pooled together a total of seven countries including Malawi, the host country.

Other countries participating are Tanzania, Kenya, Malaysia, India, Pakistan and Iraq.

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