Government has ordered a stop to construction of market stalls using planks nationwide with immediate effect.
Minister of Local Government and Rural Development Kondwani Nankhumwa said on Tuesday government plans to construct fireproof markets that will attract insurance companies to provide cover to vendors
He said most traders fail to insure their merchandise against fire because insurance companies are unwilling to offer cover.
Nankhumwa said the companies cite sub-standard markets as the main reason for not covering traders.
He said his ministry has the capacity to construct fireproof markets and has since engaged Local Development Fund (LDF) to assess how much such markets will cost.
“We are now working on the budget and we will roll out the project in the near future,” said Nankhumwa.
President of the Insurance Association of Malawi (IAM), Grant Mwenechanya, said insurance companies will only cover traders’ property if they operate from standard buildings.
He said: “We go for standard construction, not buildings constructed with planks or substandard materials. As it is now, we cannot deal with them because we are also in business.”
The country has recently experienced a spate of market fires, the most recent being the Area 18 Market in Lilongwe, Mzuzu Main Market and Mzimba Market. n