President Joyce Banda has said her government will adopt austerity measures on the road to economic recovery through trade and investment.
Speaking when she opened the 24thÂ Malawi International Trade Fair in Blantyre on Friday, Banda said trade was the reliable way to economic recovery through various interactions, such as the current trade fair.
The President said her government was committed to creating a conducive business environment through various actions such as modernising tax administration and reforming the Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA) by making sure there is good customer care and adequate training of its staff and strict measures to stop externalisation of foreign exchange, among others.
Banda said the trade fair offers opportunities for exhibitors to showcase their products and services. She said this was an investment opportunity to potential buyers and investors.
She said this yearâ€™s theme â€˜Realising Our Vision: The Export Wayâ€™ was in tandem with governmentâ€™s vision of creating wealth through economic growth and job creation as a means of achieving poverty eradication.
Said Banda: â€œTo realise this vision, among others, government will focus on enhancing capacity for increased production for the export market.â€
She said government has outlined a comprehensive economic recovery plan, focusing on short and medium term. She said in the immediate term, government was dealing with monitory principle and revenue collections and expenditure control.
Malawi Confederation of Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Matthews Chikankheni said the trade fair is going to promote both domestic and foreign trade. He encouraged local exhibitors to seal deals with international exhibitors.
He said the business industry was seriously hit by fuel shortages, power outages and shortage of foreign exchange, but expressed hope that since Banda took power [on April 7 2012 following the death of Bingu wa Mutharika], she has shown commitment to deal with these problems.
Chikankheni said for the business industry to make headways there was need to ensure there is competition between the players and quality products are produced for export to earn forex. He said there were 187 local and international companies at this yearâ€™s trade fair.
Minister of Industry and Trade John Bande said trade had become an integral part of the economy.
He said government had a number of programmes to promote export trade, which is an engine of economic growth. He also said government was identifying new markets and investments.
President Banda awarded Rab Processors as the best exhibitor in the manufacturing sector. Ministry of Tourism is the best exhibitor in the service sector, Dairibord Malawi as is the best exhibitor in the export sector as well as best overall exhibitor.
The best foreign exhibitor award went to Kenya while Tayamiko Investment is best exhibitor in small business sector.