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Businesses lament ‘lockdown’ conditions

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Pressure is still mounting on the government to consider easing restrictions on trade within the country during the planned lockdown.

Latest to make the demand is the National Association of Small and Medium Enterprises (Nasme) which has written the Ministry of Industry and Trade calling for total trade normalisation in the country with strict border controls.

This is coming following an announcement made by President Peter Mutharika on Tuesday last week that the country will go on a lockdown to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

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In a statement seen by The Daily Times, Nasme also requests the government to consider legit SMEs when disbursing loans under its K5 billion Medef facility.

“By looking at the issues presented by small and medium enterprises and cooperatives, we suggest that there be total trade normalisation in the country, but with very strict border controls following health precaution measures and on-going educative message,” reads the statement in part.

In an interview, Nasme National Chairperson, William Mwale, said funds will help SMEs enhance their businesses.

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“When you put strict measures you attract people to break the measures more so we want the government to lessen the measures put for lockdown but just enhance preventive measures to contracting corona virus,” Mwale said.

Spokesperson in the Ministry of Industry and Trade, Mayeso Msokera, asked for some time to respond to the calls.

Among others, the government has arranged that all main markets will be closed during the lockdown.

The lockdown news has been received with outrage as some traders and members protested against it.

Meanwhile, the government is expected to engage various stakeholders on best approached to effecting the lockdown.

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