Local manufacturers have been encouraged to produce durable products that are able to compete on the global market.
The remarks were made in Blantyre on Wednesday when Minister of Health Peter Kumpalume presided over the launch of hospital equipment by Sakaramenta, a local company specialised in manufacturing hospital furniture.
Started in 2009, Sakaramenta manufactures hospital beds, room dividers, standard trolleys, drip stands, over-bed tables, bicycle ambulances just to mention a few.
Kumpalume said it is sad to note that a lot of Malawian products do not meet expectations of buyers on the market, leaving them with no option but to prefer buying from other countries.
He however, expressed satisfaction with products that Sakaramenta showcased during the launch and promised to support the industry by ensuring that his ministry procure hospital equipment and furniture from the company.
“I am very impressed with the products I have seen today and I find no reason why we should continue importing, I will discuss with District Health Officers to put Sakaramenta products in their procurement plan because the products are of high standard and they meet our expectations,” said Kumpalume.
Sakaramenta managing director and co-owner Liyaka Nchilamwela said over the years the company has grown in production. He gave an assurance that it is able to meet the demand on the market.
He expressed optimism that through the company, the country will reduce importation costs thereby save forex.
Nchilamwela however cited high tax on imported raw materials as a major setback.
In his remarks, Malawi Confederation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry President Newton Kambala urged government to consider reduction of taxes on raw materials used for production as a way of supporting home industry.
He also spoke of the need for government to support such companies by reducing corporate tax which is now at 30 percent to 15 percent.
“Local industries are failing to grow due to high tax charges. This has made the cost of production very high leading to high price charges on the products. Failing to give competitive prices on the market has a negative bearing as customers run away,” explained Kambala.
In response, Kumpalume said he will discuss the concerns with his colleagues in the ministry of Finance Economic Planning and Development and also the ministry of Trade and Industry.