Prophet Bushiri honoured with Good Samaritan Award by National Product Magazine

In celebration of its 80th edition, National Product Magazine awarded Prophet Shepherd Bushiri of Enlightened Christian Gathering (ECG) with a Good Samaritan Award for his humanitarian charitable programmes he reaches out to underprivileged Malawians.

In his response to the award he was presented at a function held at Amaryllis Hotel in Blantyre, Prophet Bushiri said he was very thankful for the honour which he said was the first ever to receive in Malawi apart from numerous recognitions from foreign countries.

“The award means a lot to me and I really appreciate for this. Being the first award I should say that I am very encouraged because this shows that there are other people who appreciate the efforts we make and it is high time we realized the importance of supporting our local products.

“Through the National Products Magazine, companies — including myself — have managed to gain exposure and we really need to applaud the management of this magazine,” Bushiri said.

Bushiri receiving his award

A total of 14 companies and individuals were recognized by the National Product Magazine and its Managing Director, Arthur Steve Chinyamula said this was all to celebrate the 80th edition of the magazine, which he said it is a big achievement and a big sign that the production is the only trusted magazine to all the manufacturing companies and individuals.

Chinyamula said through the Product Magazine, Malawian business brands have been promoted both locally and internationally.

“Honestly, I’m taking this as a great achievement and this is why I thought it wise to launch the magazine in a special way and give recognition to all the outstanding companies as well as individuals,” Chinyamula said.

“Our magazine is currently circulating in Southern African Development Community (SADC) countries and let me take this opportunity to announce that National Product Magazine has now gone online in order to make it accessable and through this, we’ll create and attract different sectors across globally.”

Present at the event was a spokesperson for the Ministry of Trade, Mayeso Msokera, who said the Malawi Government has lamented over the increase of smuggling cases among manufacturing companies as the major challenge, which is affecting the growth of economy in the country.

Thus he applauded the magazine for marketing local manufacturers and individuals as well as awarding them for the demonstrating outstanding excellence in producing products.

Msokera said Government is more eager to achieve the MW2063 plan and that this dream can easily be accomplished as long as local companies are supporting the nation.

However, Msokera bemoaned currently rise of smuggling cases as one of the challenges which is derailing the growth of the economy.

“As government, we are putting a lot of efforts by working hand in hand with our agencies such as police, Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA), as well as engaging people through awareness on the dangers of smuggling.

“This is all to make sure that we curb the malpractice and in so doing, protect these manufacturing companies and allowing them to contribute to our economy through their proceeds as well as bringing fair competition on the market.

“We’ve taken note of smuggling issues and we are doing all we can to address them so that our economy should not suffer,” Msokera said.

Last year, when prices of edible cooking oil was increasing at a worrying rate — which has recently spiraled out of control, the manufacturers attributed it to the introduction of value added tax (VAT) which made them adjust their prices and thereby gave leeway for smugglers to illegally import the much-sought commodity.

But at a press conference which MRA was invited to by Consumer Association of Malawi (CAMA), it was explained that the prices of cooking oil shouldn’t have gone up as high as it did because of VAT — but could have been as low as 10%.

MRA further indicated that manufacturers — including those in the cooking oil business — enjoy tax for industrial materials that exempt them from paying import duty such as the crude oil.

MRA also disputed the claim on smuggling, saying their fight against smuggling of any commodity is their priority and that they have dedicated patrol units that are plying along the borders of Mozambique operating from Muloza in Mulanje.

Kapoloma had said since they intensified the patrols, they had intercepted lots of smugglers and confiscated many tonnes of cooking oil.

The VAT was since abolished when Finance Minister, Sosten Gwengwe presented his 2022-23 National Budget in Parliament on February 18, saying a number of taxpayers complained that it is affecting their business and thus the government saw merit in that.

But still, the cooking oil prices have skyrocketed to kingdom high and booms the unsafe purchase handling of the commodity in the local markets which traders package by hand in plastic tubes and used bottles.

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