One of Malawi’s leading home improvement companies, Davina Furnishers, has saluted Tonse Alliance administration’s directive to government ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) on giving preference to the procurement of locally made goods.
President Lazarus Chakwera, speaking in his monthly address to the nation last night, instructed the MDAs to prioritise local goods and services in their procurement and to buy from local small and medium enterprises (SMEs).
Chakwera said he it does not make sense to import things like uniforms and shoes for security agencies when such products can be made locally.
Reacting to the directive, Davina Furnishers managing director Davis Kansenza said as a local company, they are in full support of such a policy shift, realising the sad reality of limited opportunities within the government procurement system.
“The new dispensation will not only open our access to big business opportunities but will also help us strive for excellence to deliver within the marked global standards,” said Kansenza, who himself earned
a month-long trip to China after emerging winner in the entrepreneurship of small scale enterprise category of Malawi Broadcasting Corporation’s (MBC’s) Innovations Awards in 2015. He also later bagged an entrepreneurship award organized by the National Youth Council (NYC) in 2019.
Most importantly, Kansenza said, the new policy thrust, if fully implemented full-throttle, will help in the creation of sustainable jobs in line with government’s job creation drive, stressing that the company believes that the president’s directive will help the country save more foreign exchange and thereby increasing local production.
Economic analysts have for so long blamed the country’s huge appetite for foreign products which they argue has been one key determinant of Malawi’s exchange rate instability as it drains foreign currency.
Such a huge appetite for foreign-made goods has over the years widened the country’s trade gap, making imports value to surge exponentially at the expense of the value of Malawi’s total exports to other countries.
“Davina Furnishers is looking forward to full and expedited implementation of this policy direction.We hereby call all local businesses to build meaningful relationships within given ecosystems so that together we prosper under this new business environment,” said the founder and proprietor of Davina Furnishers.
In his ddress to outline his administration’s policy direction, Chakwera said he has personally seen the great work done by local artisans in places like Ndirande in Blantyre, Mchesi in Lilongwe, Katoto in Mzuzu, and other places, producing everything from office furniture to building fixtures, “and yet the young people who do such great work are never given a chance.”
“I am here to change all that. As far as I am concerned, there is no justification for importing things like uniforms and shoes for army and police officers. Under my administration, I want MDAs to prioritise procuring such goods and services locally where they are available.”
Government in 2009 developed a Buy Malawi Strategy which expired in 2014 without much to show for it. The strategy, among others, sought to improve the public procurement system to favour local suppliers and supplies.
In 2015, former president Peter Mutharika renewed the Buy Malawi Strategy for another five years, with an admission that the first one did not succeed. But this one too seems to have flopped as Malawians continue to prefer imported products at the expense of local producers.