Billionaire businessman Simbi Phiri through his Khato Civils plan to start manufacturing cigarettes in Malawi and challenge Nyasa Manufacturing Company, a move which could help the country create more jobs.
Simbi, a South Africa based Malawian businessman, plans to invest over $15 million to set up a cigarette manufacturing plant to operational by 2018.
“We have been in touch with experts in Cuba over the viability of producing cigars in Malawi which if proven viable will see the country selling cigars to Congo, Angola, Mozambique, South Africa and other countries in Africa and beyond in a few years’ time,” Simbi told a group of Malawian journalists whom he has invited to South Africa on a tour of some of Khato’s projects.
Simbi said a study is underway to establish the viability of setting up a cigarette factory in Mchinji and results are expected in the next six months.
Currently, Malawi has one company Nyasa Manufacturing Company which produces locally-made brand of cigarette in line with the government’s vision of adding value to Malawi’s Green Gold.
But the sole cigarette manufacturer is producing minimal cigarette quantities
Despite tobacco being Malawi’s main export commodity, the country continues to export semi-processed tobacco to the international market which has over the past years led to worsening trade balance as total imports value have been surmounting exports value.