Malawiâ€™s Minister of Industry and Trade John Bande on Friday took a swipe at unscrupulous exporters whom he accused of bringing into the country low proceeds from their exports, thereby denying the country the much-needed foreign currency.
Bande made the accusation in Salima where he officially opened a dialogue on the Enhanced Framework (IEF) which is a multi-donor programme to support less developed countries to be more active players in the global trading system.
â€œMalawi, as a country, we are exporting more, but we are not realising all the proceeds from our exports because of some dishonest exporters,â€ he said.
The ministerâ€™s remarks comes at a time when the countryâ€™s trade balanceâ€”the gap between exports and imports valueâ€”-continues to widen, a situation trade analysts have blamed on the continued exportation of primary products.
As a result, this has over the years significantly contributed to the scarcity of foreign currency to help the country import critical goods and services as well as beefing up its current account component of balance of payments (BoP).
He, however, blamed the malpractice on the weak tracking system of export revenues which he said unscrupulous exporters to capitalise on.
Without providing figures Malawi is losing annually due to some exportersâ€™ inability to repatriate all their export revenue to the country, Bande hinted that it is estimated that billions of kwacha are being lost in the process.
Going forward, the minister issued a stern warning that government is working tirelessly to ensure strict monitoring system that will track all exports money from the international market.
â€œWe are working in partnership with the Reserve Bank of Malawi and other relevant institutions to tackle this problem because we cannot leave the situation just like that,â€ he said
Commenting on the EIF, Bande said the programme has come at a time when his ministry has just unveiled the National Export Strategy (NES) which is a blue-print to ensure that Malawi closes its trade deficit gap.
He said the NES has identified products that should be promoted if the country is to reduce the ever-widening trade gap as well as generate the much-needed foreign exchange.
Bande also stated that the implementation of the EIF project complements further the initiatives to be undertaken under the NES, including supporting the implementation of the Malawi Growth and Development Strategy (MGDS).
He also argued that Malawi needs to design and implement an effective policy response and advance policy frameworks to reduce the impact of global financial crisis.
â€œIt is, therefore, imperative to have a robust trade framework in place that responds to Malawiâ€™s unique challenges of a landlocked country in order to realise the Presidentâ€™s vision of eradicating poverty,â€ said Bande.