Extend Trading Hours: Stakeholders fault business environment


Amid concerns from consumers over rigid trading hours followed by most businesses, some stakeholders The Daily Times has spoken to blame the situation on the business environment.

Unlike in other countries, most businesses in Malawi operate eight hours in a day, leaving no room for consumers to access commodities and services during lunch hour breaks and after working hours.

But consumer rights body, Consumers Association of Malawi (Cama) and some business operators say the evel of the economy and security lapse in the country remain major constraints.


In a telephone interview, consumer rights activist and Cama Executive Director John Kapito said unlike other advanced and middle income economies within and across the region, businesses in the country are yet to hit a peak.

He said the choice to operate a business at certain hours is dependent on type of business and its viability.

“The rest will also depend on the traffic of business and security. There is also the issue of security of the employees. It is twofold; the patronage is also limited as consumers are equally afraid to go shopping late at night.


“And the other issue is about money. Most consumers do not have enough disposable income compared to other countries and we do not have that capacity to allow the business community to thrive,” he said.

He said market opportunities are equally to blame for the status.

“The economy has not substantially grown in years. We can’t cope with the current demand. If the businesses are serious, there is no way we would close knowing that people would come to buy. Further, the demand side from the consumers is a bit weaker that is why the supply side is not even responding,” he said.

One local business operator of Indian origin who spoke on condition of anonymity concurred with Kapito saying the operating environment remains a challenge.

“There are several factors, but security is the main concern. Further, we also operate in line with the law as stipulated in our trading licenses which provides for one day off for staff,” he said.

He further indicates that on humanitarian grounds, staff have to be considered as well in terms of operating duration, hence the limit in hours of operation.

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