Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) have mobilised themselves in a group to seize business opportunities on the market.
This follows earlier pronouncements by Ministry of Trade to prioritise Malawians when issuing import and export business licences.
The SMEs met in Lilongwe on Friday during a meeting that included legislators to strategise on the formation of business groups that will culminate to a national association.
The Ministry of Trade recently revoked all import and export trade licences to enable traders to reapply as stipulated in the Control of Goods Act, whose operationalisation rendered licences under the old Act void.
Interim chairperson of the group, Endurance Banda, said over the years, imports, especially second-hand clothes, have been dominated by foreigners; hence, called for a level playing field.
He said with support from the government, SMEs have the capacity to compete favourably in importing quality goods and services for the local market.
Said Banda: “We are working to fight poverty through wealth creation and job creation. We want all members in the group to be able to employ more people.
“The only challenge remains access to capital, but now the government has assured us that capital challenges will be sorted out; hence, we are getting organised by forming groups.”
Speaking on behalf of the legislators, Lilongwe North lawmaker Monica Chang’anamono said many Malawians have not prospered in business because they work as individuals.
She said: “We are saying no it is time people have to do business in groups or in an association.
“In so doing, they will be sharing ideas and supporting each other to grow their business together.”
Chang’anamono advised SMEs to have business plans and register their businesses.
One of the participants, Tabbie Mnolo, who is a building contractor, commended government for working to create opportunities for small businesses.