The Malawi Confederation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (MCCCI) says the Buy Malawi Strategy (BMS) has not produced the desirable results because government has not made enough effort to involve various firms.
Speaking in Mzuzu on Wednesday during a business captains meeting, MCCCI president Prince Kapondamgaga said even the private sector, with MCCCI as the steering committee, has not shown enough interest in participating in the strategy.
He said: “The Buy Malawi Strategy has not produced the desirable success to government, the private sector and consumers who are the three key stakeholders targeted in the strategy.
“Although the private sector is at the helm of the strategy, there has not been enough effort by government to bring firms in.”
On her part, deputy director of trade in the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Tourism Charity Msonzo said the initiative is supposed to be private sector driven with government as an initiator to level the field for all firms to operate.
“In this spirit, therefore, to ensure sustainability of the BMS, businesses are expected to register at a minimal fee but with clear benefits which include the use of the gazetted BMS logo and marketing opportunities for registered products,” she said.
Msonzo said sales volumes can only increase if the country has a ready market for the local products.
But participants at the meeting observed that local products are shunned on the market because of poor packaging.
Mzuzu-based mushroom producers, Tisange Association vice-chairperson Clement Gondwe, said packaging materials are not readily available in the city which costs them a lot to order from Lilongwe or Blantyre; consequently, affecting prices of the products.
“Government needs to help us access packaging materials in all corners of the country if prices of local products are to be favourable,” he said.
BMS is a result of a 2009 presidential directive for a programme aimed at driving consumption of locally produced goods.