Malawi Confederation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (MCCCI) has said the K12.4 billion Malawi Bureau of Standards (MBS) Laboratory Complex, under construction in Blantyre, is a game changer in the export business.
He said: “Many companies have had their products declared unfit because international buyers connive with laboratories to do that. They know that when products are declared unfit, traders will reduce the price and they buy to make huge profits.
“This has resulted in many traders deciding not to export because they do not want to go to South Africa, for instance, to pay for certification and have their products declared unfit.”
On his part, Chilima said the laboratory will help the country to save foreign exchange and time required when exporting goods.
“It is well documented that currently, our country is facing several barriers preventing it from benefiting fully from the world trading system. One of the contributing factors is the lack of international accreditation of export certification services in the Malawi Bureau of Standards.
“However, this project will also ease the process of exporting goods from Malawi because there will be no need to send our exports to other countries for certification,” he said.
Leopard Match factory supervisor John Mathandalizwe noted that at the moment, it is a challenge to export because if a market is in South Africa, local companies producing the same goods there price their goods lower.
“One thinks of shipping costs and money spent on certification services. Essentially, you peg your prices a bit higher than local companies,” he said.
Contributions for the project have come from European Union (EU)3.8 million euros (K2.9 billion), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) 1.7 million euros (K1.3 billion), Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad) 2 million euros (K1.5 billion) while the Malawi Government is responsible for the construction of the buildings.