Malawi Confederation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (MCCCI) and representatives of small businesses have asked government to address challenges business face to ensure creation of one million jobs in one year.
While citing the Covid-19 pandemic as one of the issues that has slowed business, the players also mentioned bureaucracy, lack of financial muscle, markets and corruption as areas that need instant redress.
Speaking during a consultative meeting in Mzuzu on Wednesday convened by Minister of Labour Ken Kandodo on the creation of one million jobs, MCCCI councillor in Mzuzu Wickly Mhango said government must collaborate with the private sector in implementing regulations.
He said: “The duty of government is to make regulations, policies and direct the industries. However, there is no coordination with the private sector whom the regulations are meant for.
“So, it is free-for-all and no one is implementing those regulations and no one is checking them. As a result, the markets are invaded by foreigners and crooks, which is conducive for corruption.”
On his part, James Chiutsi, executive secretary for Chamber of Small and Medium Business Association, said they were encouraged that government was looking into the issue of access to finance for small and medium enterprises (SMEs).
He said: “For us to create more jobs, our members have some challenges, but we are encouraged that issues of finances and skills development for our members are being looked into.
“We know government is one of the major buyers, and it talks about issues of quality and we are challenging our members to produce quality products. Government must also buy more from our members.”
Chiutsi said SMEs are also choked by corruption and the delay by government agencies to certify their products for export.
Other SMEs urged government to link them with audit firms and international institutions that provide finances for businesses so that they grow their trades.
On the other hand, cross-border traders urged government to ensure that it stamps out corruption at borders.
On his part, Kandodo said he was overwhelmed with the level of excitement and enthusiasm among players in various sectors, adding that the ministry will work towards addressing their concerns.
“After these consultations next week, we will consolidate all the issues and our team of experts will use that information to come up with a strategy that will help to create these jobs.”
Prior to the June 23 fresh presidential elections, the Tonse Alliance, a grouping of nine political parties, promised to create one million jobs within the first year in office.