Fifty-seven people have lost their jobs at the Mponela-based Medi following the merger of the institution with Sedom and Demat.
The merger of the Malawi Entrepreneurs Development Institute (Medi), the Small Enterprise Development Organisation of Malawi (Sedom) and the Development of Malawi Traders’ Trust (Demat) had been in the offing since its announcement by former Finance minister Ken Kandodo in the 2010/11 National Budget in which government unveiled a plan to reduce the number of subvented organisations from 65 to 41 to improve the delivery of public goods and services.
Both an official at the Ministry of Industry and Trade and a Medi source have confirmed that only 21 Medi employees have survived the chop after the official merging of the three institutions on February 1 2012.
“There was an emergency meeting last week attended by officials from Human Resource Department, OPC [Office of the President and Cabinet], StatutoryCorporation and the Ministry of Labour who communicated to Medi employees about the effectiveness of the merger and also delivered letters to the 57 who have been [retrenched],” said the source at Medi who opted for anonymity.
The source said the fired employees have since been given a notice pay which is basically a one-month salary per individual based on his or her conditions of service.
Following the merger, Medi has also closed the filling station, lodge, library and club house it has been operating since its inception.
In an interview on Monday, Minister of Industry and Trade Sosten Gwengwe could neither confirm nor deny the discharging of staff at the three institutions. He referred the issue to his Principal Secretary Nerbert Nyirenda who was, however, not available on his phone.
But Gwengwe said it is expected that the new entity, called the Small and Medium Enterprise Board, would eliminate the duplication of efforts as there would be one focal point of activities.
Said the minister: “This will help SMEs [small and medium enterprises] as they will be able to get help from the new institution which has been consolidated into one focal point.”
Gwengwe likened the merger to that of the now defunct Malawi Investment Promotion Agency (Mipa) and the Malawi Export Promotion Council (Mepc) which have since formed the Malawi Investment and Trade Centre (Mitc) aimed at facilitating business registration.