Some vendors at Limbe Market have written Blantyre City Council (BCC), for permission to demonstrate against what they term ‘influx of Chinese traders in Malawi’, whom they accuse of employing unfair and non-competitive trade practices.
The vendors argue that government, which claims to protect and support growth of indigenous traders, has failed to put in place policies that protect indigenous small businesses from foreign traders.
According to the letter to the council, dated October 18 2018, signed by market chairperson Mbisa Limbe, which we have seen, the vendors plan to hold their protests on October 25 2018.
The concerns first came to the fore during a recent Malawi Confederation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (MCCCI) regional chapter meeting in Mzuzu, which attracted businesspersons, officials from the Reserve Bank of Malawi (RBM) and Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism.
At the meeting, some businesspersons queried ministry officials on the criteria government follows in categorising foreign investors, citing some Chinese that are involved in general trading such as bottlestores.
BCC public relations officer Anthony Kasunda confirmed receiving the letter on October 18 2018.
MCCCI councillor for the Northern Chapter Bernard Kaunda said government seems to have failed to control the proliferation of Chinese in general trading in cities, towns and districts.
On his part, Indigenous Businesses Association of Malawi (Ibam) president Mike Mlombwa said the organisation has been receiving similar complaints and has taken them to government, but to no avail..