Malawi Government says it is necessary to enhance the business environment to foster more exports and competitiveness so that the country can realise increased economic growth and comparative advantage.
Minister of Industry and Trade, John Bande said it is crucial for employers and workersâ€™ organisations, government, chambers of commerce and other key stakeholders to play a role to realise that goal.
Bande said creation of a conducive business environment relates directly to the decent work agenda that was launched by social partners, Ministry of Labour, Employers Consultative Association of Malawi (Ecam) and Malawi Congress of Trade Unions (MCTU).
â€œWhile government has put in place a solid foundation in terms of a comprehensive policy framework for wealth creation and employment generation in the form of the national Malawi Growth and Development Strategy (MGDS) II, gainful and decent employment remains elusive to the majority of the Malawian labour force.
Â â€œMGDS II aims at stimulating and ensuring productive and decent employment for better standards of living. This suggests that there is alignment and harmony of national strategies that involve key stakeholders such as Ecam, MCTU and the government. Decent work translates to a decent standard of living which also suggests a positive economy that can foster sustainable enterprises,â€ said Bande in Lilongwe recently at a stakeholdersâ€™ workshop.
Ecam in collaboration with International Labour Organisation (ILO) organised the workshop to discuss and draw consensus on the implementation of an assessment of the Enabling Environment for Sustainable Enterprises (EESE) in Malawi.
The Bureau of Employersâ€™ Activities and the Small Enterprise Development Unit (EMP/SEED) of the ILO have developed a series of activities which are expected to empower ILOâ€™s social partners such as employers and workers organisations in Malawi by supporting their capacity to understand, assess and analyse data related to the policy, legal and regulatory environment under which micro small and medium sized enterprises (MSMEâ€™s) operate in Malawi.
Ecam president Buxton Kayuni agreed that the current economic conditions have not been conducive to business, adding that it has been a daunting task for employers to adopt the decent work agenda fully, because of that.
He said as an employerâ€™s organisation, their role in decent work to realise sustainable enterprises is pivotal, and it is their ability to lobby for an environment that is business friendly.
â€œAn environment conducive to the creation and growth or transformation of enterprises on a sustainable basis combines the legitimate quest for profit â€“ one of the key drivers of economic growth â€“ with the need for development that respects human dignity, environmental sustainability and decent work,â€ he said.
The ILO and the employer community are natural partners in working towards the shared goal of wealth and job creation.
The task falls to employers, who provide a window to the real world of work, to lobby the government to better understand modern business realities and concerns, and thereby become equipped to reflect those realities in its policies.