Small-scale businesses are among those heavily hit by the power outages the country is experiencing due to their small capital.
The small-scale businesses that we visited in Blantyre this week, including welding shops, cinema halls, barber shops, photocopying and internet cafes and timber cutting shops are feeling the pinch of the outages because they cannot afford generators.
According to Steven Chizumati, a barber in Chemusa Township in the city of Blantyre, the blackouts have robbed him of a business opportunity, which has affected the livelihood of his family.
“In my barber shop I make an average of K3 500 per day. This money is just enough to feed us—my wife and two children. We live hand to mouth and we expect to make more money the next day. But with the current blackouts all hope is gone. I invested money in buying electricity units and paying for rent on my business premises, However, that money is not producing anything as we are struggling to find food,” he said.
In some townships of Blantyre city such as Ndirande, Chilomoni and Chilobwe young people spend who depend on power to run their small business spend the greater part of the day sitting idle on street sides waiting for electricity to come back in order to start working.
For some years running, the Malawi Confederation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (MCCCI) has singled out unreliable electricity power as one of the country’s major obstacles to doing business. n