MITC a has point: Revive Admarc commercial activities

Malawi used to have a reasonable industrial base with a number of industries that produced goods for local and foreign markets before 1995. For example, Press Clothing used to manufacture quality clothes for local and international markets. Admarc used to have a number of subsidiary companies such as Grain and Milling which added value to its core function as the major buyer of farm produce.

Kumbemba: Few Malawian companies in export business

However, the UDF government destroyed “everything” President Kamuzu Banda left after 1994.  Many companies were shut down while others were sold to capitalists in wanton IMF/ World Bank-sponsored privatization programme which turned out to be a failure. Many Malawians lost their jobs and were pushed to the fringes of life.More than 20 years after the so-called restructuring of the economy, poverty has worsened, inequality has widened and the economy is in a crisis. Post 1994 has also given birth to corrupt politicians and public servants who get rich quickly at the expense of the poor. They connive with the private sector to defraud government of billions of kwacha through tenders some which are dubious.

As if these are not enough problems, government is doing very little to turn Malawi into a producing and exporting country. Government is obsessed with attracting foreign investment instead of using resources to establish new local industries and support the existing ones to boost the economy. So far, it is only Kamuzu Banda who recognized the importance of the role state-owned enterprises play in national development.

It is a well-thought-out suggestion by the Malawi Investment and Trade Centre (Mitc) for Admarc to revert to the commercial side of the market to address the export gap. According to Mitc Chief Executive Officer, Clement Kumbemba, there are few Malawian companies that are in export business. He said Mitc has huge orders from various countries within Africa and beyond, but not much is done to export against the huge orders that they get. He expressed the “desire to see the commercial side of Admarc back on the market to mop out all products from farmers and help to improve prices”.

If there are a lot of external orders that Malawi is failingto meet because the private sector is not taking up the challenge, is this not enough justification for Admarc to take a leading role in the export drive? It is clear that the private sector is preoccupied with other business ventures other than agriculture.

The commercial side of Admarc should not only be confined to exports, but extended to agro processing industries such as juice making and food production for both local and international markets. It should be turned into a conglomerate for food production. For example, Admarc can start producing a variety of breakfast cereals from maize instead of exporting it raw, and can also revive producing mealie meal. It was a huge mistake to sell Grain Milling. A developing country like Malawi needs institutions like Admarc to assist in national development through value addition.

Government has been talking about boosting exports for a long time. But there is very little happening on the ground.Admarc can legitimately take advantage of such opportunities to boost export demand. Mitc should discuss the idea with Admarc management and its board to take up this challenge. It is perfect for the parastatal to revive its commercial activities in the interest of the country.

 

 

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5 thoughts on “MITC a has point: Revive Admarc commercial activities”

  1. Joshua says:

    I cry for my beloved country MALAWI. The spirit of corruption and stealing brought by one Bakili Muluzi will haunt us for a very long time.

  2. Joshua says:

    I cry for my beloved country MALAWI. The spirit of corruption and stealing brought one Bakili Muluzi will haunt us for a very long time.

  3. bulutu says:

    I wished Mr Kumbemba was within the Country’s top management as implementation of what is suggested here would not be a problem. There is need for a political will to move the country forward. Suggestions have been made countless times by wise people and people who have forecast minds but none is being implemented because those with such bright ideas have no government positions to influence action. Malawi has many resources but how we use and share them is a problem. There is a sector that thinks they own the country hence unrealistic decisions that torture the populace. Nobody would die of hunger in Malawi if ADMARC reverts back to its original activities. It used to stock commodities that grew in different parts of Malawi. That was ADMARC under the late HKB. The ADMARC of today is fake.

  4. concerned Citizen says:

    This gentleman is really patriotic. I support you on the issues raised. We need political will for this to happen and that is the biggest problem we have as a nation.

  5. Hlabezulu Ngonoonda says:

    Mr. KUMBEMBA, thanks for your views on the economy and in particular ADMARC. You have my support on the issues raised. However, Malawi can go back to those glory years if we first and foremost remove some elements of corrupt individuals lurking within ADMARC management. Thereafter put in Malawians of European origins whose work ethics would be ideal to achieve those objectives. Otherwise it would be futile to let the current set up to achieve those ideals.
    Late Dr. Hastings Kamuzu Banda was incorruptible. He resisted the issue of Africanisation of public sector because, as an African himself who fully understood American and European work ethics, he strongly believed that Africans do not regard acts of corruption as shameful in the way Westerners regard them.
    As a visionary person, Kamuzu personally got involved in market interventions as the MCP led government pursued import substitution polices soon after independence. The objective was to diversify the economy away from the agriculture sector through the increase of import–substitution industrialisation. Besides, he provided an environment in which ADMARC and corporations such as Press Holdings Ltd to invest in many sectors of the economy including agriculture, manufacturing and financial sectors.
    ADMARC played a crucial role in the agricultural development strategy as a buyer and a supplier of agriculture inputs apart from opening markets and depots in rural areas with a view to meet the needs of the rural masses whose livelihood dependent on subsistence farming. People found jobs in state owned enterprises and state owned holding corporations. They were able to put on decent clothing; pay children’s school fees; and meet other basic necessities. Even the manufacturing sector increased in Malawi. This sector also employed more Malawians. There was Brown & Clapperton; Encor Products; and ADMARC Canning Company, just to mention a few. In 1987 the National Statistical Office (NSO) documented that about 405 firms in the manufacturing sector were registered. Out of these, 26.42% were small scale; 26.17% were in the medium–scale; 25.68% were large–scale enterprises; and 21.73% were micro enterprises. Sadly, the framers of the Malawi Constitution at Kwacha International Conference Centre betrayed Malawians by putting a clause in it which effectively allowed people with criminal records to lead the country. The work of such leaders is what everyone is seeing in Malawi now … moral decaying, corruption, abuse of office … God help Malawians remove that clause in the Malawi Constitution … cashgate is producing more convicts … Mr. KUMBEMBA, through Malawi Investment Centre do all what is needed to resuscitate Malawi’s manufacturing sector to that the country export more products as it used to before 1994.

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