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AXA proposes licensing of operators for specific routes

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Agma Holdings Limited, the owners of AXA Bus Company, have proposed the introduction of licenses that will restrict bus operators to specific routes to ease tough competition in the country’s passenger service industry.

Agma Holdings group chairperson Mark Katsonga- Phiri, said this on Tuesday in Blantyre during an award presentation ceremony to the company’s best performing employees.

Katsonga-Phiri said Malawi’s passenger transport system requires proper management systems to allow operators get reasonable returns on their investments.

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“We have bought buses, yes, thanks to removal of duty by the government but we are running the buses without serious government interventions,” said Katsonga-Phiri.

“In other countries, you operate on a route. You don’t just buy a bus and run it all over the place,” he said.

He said because of the absence of proper systems, operators are facing stiff competition on the few tarmac roads while nobody is willing to go to the rural areas.

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Katsonga-Phiri said the response they have received from government on the proposal has been that the industry is liberalised and cannot be regulated.

“This is very unfortunate,” said Katsonga-Phiri.

Principal secretary in the Ministry of Labor, Youth and Manpower Development, Patrick Kabambe, who witnessed the ceremony, hailed Agma Holdings Limited for remembering its employees, saying this was rare in the business industry.

He, however, requested companies to engage the ministry so that together they can work out on skills that are needed in different industries.

This, he said, will enable government design a curriculum that will address skills gap in the industries.

“Government has taken the issue of skills development as a priority in the next five years. This is why we are investing a lot in building capacity in various skills that are required to drive the economy to move forward,” said Kabambe.

“You are aware that we are investing in community colleges in all the districts so that we are able to train the people in the relevant skills that the industry needs,” he said.

Awardees included best driver, ancillary driver, conductor, inspector, hostess, technician, mechanic, long serving employee, employee of the year and a special recognition to former board of directors and former managers.

During the ceremony Member of Parliament, Allan Ngumuya, was named Agma Holdings Limited brand ambassador.

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