Pressure group Transformation Alliance (TA) claims Malawians are not benefitting from some foreign direct investment (FDI) initiatives and has asked government to put in place policies that will ensure locals reap the fruits.
TA chairperson Moses Kunkuyu said in a statement there are many developments that have taken place in the country, but have not directly benefitted local people.
He alleged that some FDI schemes have ended up opening channels for siphoning resources at the expense of ordinary Malawians.
Kunkuyu’s sentiments followed the groundbreaking ceremony for the construction of Chichiri Business Park in Blantyre presided over by President Peter Mutharika last week.
But reacting to the sentiments, Minister of Information and Communications Technology Nicholas Dausi, who is also the official government spokesperson, described Kunkuyu’s remarks as bizarre.
He said: “This is very worrisome because if Malawi is to develop, there is need for more foreign direct investment. Such investments that are made benefit the local people because they get employed in the long run and we also get to sell our merchandise. Therefore, I think Kunkuyu must be fair because there is no rationale in such allegations.”
Dausi said there is need for research before disgracing oneself in public as regards such discussions.
But the TA chairperson argued that there are examples of projects, both directly funded by investors or through loans, which have not directly benefitted local Malawians.
He said: “We have examples of the presidential villas, the new [five-star] hotel, the Parliament building and the new stadium which are beautiful structures and have created excitement among the citizens, but have not made tangible economic returns to the people of Malawi.
“Ordinarily, the general expectation would be that every Malawian taxpayer would have the opportunity to benefit economically from such projects either through employment or business opportunities, but that has not been the case as evidenced by the procedures followed in the awarding of contracts for the construction of the said facilities all the way to the employment of top staff and identification of business players in these facilities.”
While appreciating the standards that investors have, that are adhered to, Kunkuyu stressed that the country has trained people of high calibre who are capable of raising structures professionally and operate businesses with high integrity.