President Peter Mutharika has challenged the private sector to adopt internal strategies that will support businesses to grow in terms of exports and competitiveness to survive on the global market.
In his address at the official opening of the 29th Malawi International Trade Fair (Mitf) at Chichiri Trade Fair Grounds in Blantyre yesterday, the President said the country’s strategy should be to improve the quantity and quality of productivity.
He said Malawi needs a smaller public sector and a bigger private sector that is highly competitive and innovative.
Said the President: “We need to change the way we do business. We must be innovative in our ways. There is always room for improvement. We have to be more innovative and more aggressive. With integrity, hard work and patriotism, we can be what we desire as a country, and as a continent.”
He said the country is not far from becoming a producing and exporting nation, assuring the business community of an improved business environment.
Mutharika said government will proceed to ensure that 30 percent of public procurement contracts are reserved for local products as well as implementing productive macroeconomic policies to bring down inflation and interest rates.
He added that government will continue to create enhanced access to finance with a fully functioning Development Bank and provide support to the Export Development Fund because that is good for the private sector.
On his part, Malawi Confederation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (MCCCI) president Karl Chokotho admitted that improving productivity from both quality and quantity to meet local demand as well as breaking into the export market has remained a challenge.
He said: “We have to produce more in order to have a surplus to export. Becoming more productive will require that we adopt new ways of doing things, including new technologies.”
While observing that Malawi export basket continues to narrow as it mainly depends on agricultural raw materials with a few value added products, Chokotho said it is time the country moved up the economic development ladder and start adding value to raw products.
This year’s Mitf, themed Productivity: A Source of Export Competitiveness, has attracted over 250 exhibitors. Out of these companies, 15 are foreign from six countries, namely Kenya, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Sri Lanka, India and Tanzania. n