Malawi government has bemoaned the continued dominance by foreigners in the investment sector and has since initiated development of a policy to empower Malawians economically.
Government through Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism is formulating National Economic Empowerment Policy (NEEP), and consultations are expected to start on Wednesday in Blantyre.
Secretary for Industry, Trade and Tourism, Cliff Chiunda noted on Tuesday that despite efforts by authorities, most Malawians are still involved in low-return, small scale enterprises while large scale and high value businesses are owned by either foreigners or a minority of Malawians.
Chiunda said the NEEP policy is one of the initiatives government is implementing to encourage the citizenry to participate in mainstream economic activities to enable them improve their income levels and contribute to the country’s economic transformation.
“Several economic empowerment measures have been put in place to address concerns of marginalized Malawians. These measures include the formulation and development of various national strategies and policy instruments, and setting up of various institutions over the years to assist in empowering the citizenry,” said Chiunda.
He highlighted that unavailability of policies such as NEEP, has led to the widening of gaps that exist between the richest and the poorest in the country.
“Due to lack of the majority of Malawian citizens not being economically empowered, the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism (MoITT) saw the need to develop a new National Economic Empowerment Policy (NEEP).
“Over the past years, several economic empowerment lobbying groups have expressed concern over Government’s unwillingness to adopt the National Economic Empowerment Policy (NEEP) which was developed some years back.”
He said NEEP would focus on empowering Malawians to actively participate in economic activities which will lead to economic transformation of the country.
Currently, the Ministry is supporting the private sector, micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) and Cooperatives to participate in various economic activities under the Trade Industry, Private Sector Development, and Tourism sector as a way of empowering the Malawian citizen.
“This is to be achieved through creating an environment that opens up opportunities which will enable citizens to take better advantage of economic opportunities and the economic growth process of various sectors in the country by putting in place various legislations and regulations,” he added.
Once it is formulated and approved, NEEP is expected to increase participation of Malawian citizens in economic activities thereby contributing to increased income levels and reduction of inequalities between and within groups (gender, persons with disabilities, regions etc.).
The policy mainly focuses on accelerating economic growth and creating an enabling investment climate; legal and regulatory framework and public service delivery; investment capital; raising skills and knowledge levels; economic infrastructure; access to markets; expanding business opportunities and land accessibility for commercial use.
Inaugural consultative meeting on the policy will held on Wednesday at Hotel Victoria in Blantyre where individuals, companies and business representatives will provide their input on the policy.