Malawi VP Kachali opens K300m soap factory in Mzuzu

Malawi’s Vice President Khumbo Kachali on Monday  inaugurated  a K300 million (about $1.2m) soap manufacturing plant at Luwinga Industrial Area in Mzuzu.

Speaking at the event, Kachali said the decision to open the plant in Mzuzu is in response to the political will and economic recovery measures that the People’s Party (PP)  led government has instituted.

The factory, owned by Pan African Investments Limited, a subsidiary of Bakhresa Grain and Milling (Malawi) Limited which is headquartered in Dar e salaam, Tanzania has an output of 50 metric tonnes of Azam tablets soap per day.

Although the company only employs a paltry 35 people, company officials said thousands are employed indirectly in the value chain because of its product.

VP inspecting the state-of-the-art soap plant . Photo by Collins Mtika/Nyasa Times

“The measures that the government has implemented in the recovery plan have put the economy on the right path. But this recovery has to be anchored on a sustained economic growth with the help of the private sector,” Kachali said.

Private sector role

The Veep said the Malawi government will continue to develop the private sector in order to enhance its potential to drive and increase economic growth, employment creation, income generation and foreign exchange generation.

“We shall remove all bottlenecks and address the major challenges in the business environment in order to make it faster, easier and cheaper to do business in Malawi. This modern plan supports the government’s development agenda,” he said.

Minister of Industry and Trade John Bande also hailed the commissioning of the plant saying it marks a mile stone in the development of industries in Malawi.

“To show its commitment Malawi’s President Mrs. Joyce Banda when she assumed office on April 7th 2012, ordered a review of 42 national economic laws. 32 have been reviewed so far and Parliament has passed 12,” he said.

Bande said issues of private sector development are at the heart of the PP led government.

“The path to economic recovery will require increased savings and investments. My ministry will facilitate the placement of the private sector as an engine for economic growth in Malawi.

Bakhresa contribution

Bakhresa Grain and Milling (Malawi) Limited Chief Executive Officer Mahesh Josyabhatla said the company is only meeting about 40 to 50 percent of the demand.

“There is an increased demand for soap in the northern region and we intend to increase production to meet this demand,” Josyabhatla said.

He said for the first six months since the company has been in operation, it has paid MK80 million in corporate taxes to the Malawi government.

“The government has created conducive environment for the private sector to operate and we would want to take advantage of this in our expansion plans,” he said.

Josyabhatla then donated 100 cartons of Azam soap (3000 tablets) to the vice president saying the Veep could donate to beneficiaries of their choice.

The Veep said his wife and other women will identify the recipients of the soap.

Bakhresa was established in the 1970s but took over the Grain and Milling Company Limited (Gramil) on December 6, 2003.

VP Kachali being welcomed by Minister of Trade John Bande. Photo by Collins Mtika/Nyasa Times
Malawi Vice President Kachali cutting the ribbon to mark the official opening of the soap factory. Photo by Collins Mtika/Nyasa Times

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