President Peter Mutharika has pleaded with the United Kingdom (UK) to support Malawi in its public service reforms that focus on creating a conducive environment for the private sector.
Mutharika made the appeal during a private audience with UK’s Minister of Trade and Industry Francis Maude on the sidelines of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (Chogm) taking place in Valletta, Malta this week.
He said reforms such as introduction of a One-Stop Centre for investors were meant to accelerate Malawi’s wish of an industrialised status.
However, the President outlined challenges to attaining the status, among them lack of affordable financing to spur private sector development, limited access to international markets and lack of technology for the industrialisation process.
He said investment opportunities exist in agriculture and agro-processing, energy, mining, tourism, manufacturing and infrastructure.
Said Mutharika: “May I, therefore, request Her Majesty’s government to support us in reform initiatives and also render its support on developing our small and medium enterprises [SMEs]. My government is really committed to empower SMEs so that they graduate and become part of the vibrant private sector. We have SMEs in the mining, agriculture and agro-processing sectors.”
He also briefed Maude on the International Monetary Fund (IMF) review of the Extended Credit Facility programme, saying MalawI met all its targets except on net domestic borrowing.
As he did in the opening speech of Parliament earlier this month, Mutharika blamed the previous administration of Joyce Banda for incurring debts which his government settled before end of June this year.
“My government is tirelessly working to bring back on track the ECF programme by December 2015, by maintaining tight fiscal and monetary policies and ensuring that public finance management reforms are expedited,” he said.
Since he arrived in Malta on Monday for Chogm which opens today, the President has delivered two keynote addresses calling for private sector investment in the health sector, but also wooing potential investors in the manufacturing and agro-processing sectors.