Businesses and an economist say the directive by the Office of the President and Cabinet to ministries, departments and agencies to prioritise local small businesses in public procurement will help to create jobs.
The directive, issued by Secretary to the President and Cabinet Zanga-Zanga Chikhosi on Tuesday, is in line with the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) Order 2020 to economically empower indigenous Malawians to do business and participate in public procurement.
Reads the directive in part: “With immediate effect, I further direct that all controlling officers should implement the MSME Order by buying from local MSMEs and marganalised groups.
“You are further directed to prioritise procurements of locally made goods and services and works in the spirit of the Buy Malawi Strategy.”
The directive, which will attract “punitive sanctions” if ignored, follows a national address by President Lazarus Chakwera on March 28 in which he called for support for local suppliers in public procurement.
In an interview on Wednesday, University of Malawi professor of economics Ben Kaluwa said the move will help government to create the much-needed jobs.
He said all along, local suppliers were being sidelined in public procurement, which accounts for about 70 percent of the national budget.
“This directive will obviously have positive impact in as far as job creation is concerned. The trickle-down effect is massive,” he said.
Writing on his Facebook page, Davina Furnishers managing director David Kansenza, whose firm provided furniture for the just-ended 41st Sadc Heads of State and Government Summit in Lilongwe, thanked government for giving them business.
He posted: “Who knew that one day Davina Furnishers would provide furniture for a high- level summit?
“A big thank you to the Malawi Government for creating an enabling environment for indigenous companies like Davina Furnishers to showcase their potential to the world.”
On his part, Chamber for Small and Medium Businesses Association executive secretary James Chiutsi said some MDAs were frustrating small businesses from enjoying preferential business treatment.
The MSME Order, gazetted on December 14 2020, was designed to break monopolies of big and established businesses that have been dominating in public procurement.