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60/40 law delays irk SME chamber

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Sosten Gwengwe

Delays in implementing provisions of the Procurement and Disposal of Assets (PPDA) Act have worried the Chamber for Small and Medium Enterprises in the country.

Although the PPDA Act was passed three years ago, it is yet to materialise.

The chamber feels the status quo is still disadvantaging local business operators who earmarked for the opportunities availed.

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Among other things, the new law suggests that 60 percent of government procurements should be given to indigenous Malawians with the remaining 40 percent to foreigner business people.

The government, through the Ministry of Trade and the Public Procurement and Disposal of Assets Authority, engaged private sector players to enlighten them and seek insights on the proposed guidelines of the law which was introduced in 2017.

The additional guidelines include that SMEs should be given a green card and have categories of government procurements where they can bid among themselves.

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But in a statement signed by its Executive Secretary, James Chiutsi, the chamber says it expected law to be operationalised by now.

“SMEs in Malawi are disadvantaged because, for a long time, there have been other people that have monopolized the businesses, making it very difficult for indigenous Malawians to grow. So, we call upon the government to implement the guidelines with immediacy,” He said.

Reacting, Minister of Trade Sosten Gwengwe, said by the time Parliament convened last month, the guidelines were already done and submitted to the Ministry of Justice for gazzetting.

“The process has stalled at the Ministry of Justice, probably because of a huge workload they may be having but immediately it is gazzeted it will be ready to go and we are pushing day and night,” Gwengwe said.

In Malawi and many economies worldwide, government is the biggest buyer from the private sector and helps businesses to grow.

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