National Bank of Malawi has saved the country’soldest print media house,
Blantyre Print and Publishing (BP&P) from imminent closure by giving the company a loan of K129 million which Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA) demanded.
The company publishes four newspapers which are Daily Times (the country’s oldest daily), Malawi News (the country’s oldest weekly), The Sunday Times and Weekend Times. It also has a quarterly magazine called Times Lifestyle.
Sources said as the company was grappling with the K129 million debt to the country’s tax collector, government had planned to have the company declared bankrupt and later on sell it to Mulli Brothers Group of Companies.
The debt came about because the company bought expensive vehicles for its top managers when reporters are walking everyday as ordinary pedestrians.
“We got wind of government’s intention to seize the company because of
the debt. They wanted to sell it to Mulli Brothers. We immediately resolved to seek help from the commercial banks and National Bank of Malawi gave us the loan.Government has no word now because we have settled the debt,” one of the managers said.
Government had planned to get all its perceived critical journalists to the failed new company.
Before the debt was paid, sheriffs frequently stormed the company headquarters to seize the vehicles. On some occasions some vehicles were seized but later released after thorough discussions.
The company was also forced to fire 44 employees because of the debt.
Management said the dismissals were because of the hard financial times the company was gong through.
The media compnay’s boss Leonard Chikadya is on record saying they were faced with “two devils”, but opted for one evil -retrenchment – as a turnaround strategy for the media firm, noting that “business is very,very challenging.”
The media empire belongs to the first president of the country, Dr. Hastings Kamuzu Banda whose grand nephew, Kennan Kandodo, is the boss.
Kandodo who was Finance Minister, has since been left out in the new cabinet.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :