Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the leather sector have asked the government to stop imports of police shoes so that manufacturers can produce them locally.
The players said the government would save forex used to import the shoes.
The SMEs expressed the sentiments after undergoing a Malawi Enterprise Productivity Enhancement (Mepe) eight-day footwear designing and finishing training in Blantyre.
One the SMEs, Tamara Banda from Lilongwe, said it does not make sense for the government to import police boots than cannot be produced locally.
“We are capable of producing shoes of any kind. This is why we are asking the government to trust us in producing police boots and everything they need,” she said.
During the training, 20 SMEs in the sector gained skills from a leather expert from Kenya in shoe designing, shoe cutting, machine operation, quality assurance and shoe finishing.
The trainees were able to produce finished boots and different shoes made from leather.
Mepe project manager Leman Jussa in an interview said he was impressed with the outcome of the training.
“The trainees have learnt a lot and at the end of the training produced high quality shoes. This is what we want, local SMEs should be able to add value to leather,” he said.
The Mepe project is under the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Tourism and is working with the Leather Industry Association of Malawi (Liama) to boost the local leather industry.