The failure of rain to come on time in most parts of the central region and the general economic hardship the country is experiencing have impacted hard on the people in the region with the capital Lilongwe experiencing very slow economic activity compared to other past years during the same Christmas period.
The sentiments were expressed by Chisomo Ziyenda, a minibus tax collector for Minibus Association of Malawi in an interview.
He said when rains come before Christmas, farmers shop with confidence because they have bought agricultural inputs and have done most of the first activities in taking care of their crops and the remaining cash in hand is put to Christmas celebrations.
“Without rain in Malawi, especially the central region, there are no celebrations as the future looks bleak for farmers and all other businesses and this has been compounded by the economic problems the Government is going through,” revealed Ziyenda.
He explained that a day before Christmas the city is not overcrowded with shoppers this year as is always the case during Christmas season.
“There is no scrambling for minibuses by passengers, and minibuses are not hired as is the case during most Christmas times, and the city is empty, it’s just like a normal busy day and not Christmas time,” commented Ziyenda.
The comments were confirmed by Juy Vachhani, the manager for megastore Chipiku at Lilongwe Shopping Mall, in the heart of the city’s shopping center housing Game stores, PEP stores and many others.
He said that for them there are two challenges they are facing, namely, the general slow-down of the economy and the competition with other stores including those from outside Malawi such as Shoprite.
Vachhani said that as a Malawian company, they understand Malawians better and that is the secret behind their success in this business.
“We make very minimal profit per item thereby empowering our Malawian shoppers and in the process attracting them, we stock a wide range of frequently sought products by our customers, and lastly we give good treatment for our customers because, to us, a customer is a king,” Vachhani explained. – LINA