Minister of Industry Trade and Tourism, who is also a banker, Joseph Mwanamveka, on Thursday hit at Malawi’s commercial banks saying that their high interest lending rates are derailing investment in the country.
Mwanamveka, speaking during a news conference organised in order to update the nation on the incoming Malawi Investment Forum which is slated for 10-11 October, 2016, the minister said it is unfortunate that the banks are charging similarly like ‘Katapila’ system popularly known as loan shack to their customers.
“This is a very serious matter sometimes one can just borrow K1Million but because the system on how these banks calculate the their interest rates is also very archaic, to the effect that out of K1 million borrowed a customer can pay back almost K50 million,” said Mwanamveka
Mwanamveka gave example of a number of properties being sold on auction and advertised in newspapers by the banks.
“This is a clear indication that indeed banks are not helping Malawians, apart from en slaving and impoverishing them,” he said.
However, Mwanamveka said the government is not lying idle on the matter.
“We were failing to discipline these banks because we were lacking legal backing, for example in Kenya interests rates are below 14 percent because they are charged according to the law while in Malawi we can be challenged on that one, so that is why as government we are now reviewing financial Services act where the issues like high interest rates will be controlled,” said Mwanamveka.
During the press conference Mwanamveka revealed that 600 delegates have confirmed to participate during the incoming Malawi Investment Forum.
Mwanamveka said the theme for this year’s Trade Investment Forum is ‘Smart Partnerships for Private Sector-Led Industrialization’
“Preparations for the MIF 2016 are at an advanced stage. So far over 600 delegates have confirmed attendance and we are receiving confirmations daily,”aid Mwanamveka.
The confirmations according to Mwanamveka are both local and foreign delegates.
“We have packaged 18 ready strategic public projects under Public-Private Partnership agreement that have been shared already to all those that have registered and those we have invited,” said Mwanamveka.
Mwanamveka said sectors of focus include; Agriculture and Agro-processing Tourism, services focusing on ICT, Health, Education and Creative Arts.
According to Mwanamveka, other areas of focus are Manufacturing, ITransport, Water, Commercial & Residential Real and Estate .
Mwanamveka said this year MITC have introduced a mobile application as one of the platforms to promote interaction among delegates before and during the day of the event.
Through this mobile application delegates are able to know who has registered and in what sector they are so they can start their discussions right away even before the day of the event.
“We did not have this facility last year and its one of the new technologies that we have introduced to make the event more effective and enjoyable for all the delegates,” said Mwanamveka.
Meanwhile there is a MIF mobile app with features: list of all attendees, the program, meeting schedules and live feeds.
“We have introduced this as you know technology is advancing everyday so we want all our delegates to have a memorable and enjoyable experience at the MIF 2016 by providing them with all the necessary information about the event at their fingertips.
“We are therefore encouraging all interested participants to register online for them to have access to this facility otherwise those that do not register will not be allowed to enter the premises of BICC,” said Mwanamveka.
Mwanamveka said the exhibition side, “We have already registered more than 60 exhibitors who will exhibit products in various categories, including foreign ones who will showcase modern technologies in various sectors especially agriculture.” Said Mwanamveka.
MIF director Kumbambe says MITC is working with foreign missions abroad in recruiting more foreign delegates.
“At this point let me take this opportunity to encourage aspiring local participants to the forum especially the private sector to register in good time.” Said Kumbambe.
MITC held the similar Forum last year at the Bingu International Conference Centre (BICC) in Lilongwe
These Investment Forums offers foreign and local investors, high level government officials and development partners an opportunity to discuss, on one to one basis, issues related to direct investments, joint ventures as well as Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs).
It also offers networking environment for participants to discuss packaged investment opportunities and joint venture projects with Malawian companies.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :