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Government pledges to protect local businesses

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Government has reiterated the need to put in place legislation that promotes the interests of local businesses in order to attract investors into the country.

Minister of Mines and Energy, Bright Msaka, made the remarks on Friday in Mangochi when he visited Cement Products Limited (CPL) Njereza Plant and its clinker factory which is under construction.

Msaka explained that investing in the mining sector in Malawi is currently facing some challenges mainly to do with land and legislation which he said cannot entice new entrants into the sector if left unchecked.

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He said government wants to grow the mining sector so that more Malawians can benefit from the natural resources that are available in the country but this can happen if there is rule of law in the industry.

“Currently, there is no rule of law on how people demand compensations from companies that are in mining business at the moment. People have become so creative such that they are deliberately encroaching onto mining areas in order to be compensated. This is lawlessness and we will deal with that to protect the interests of our local businesses,” said Msaka.

The minister further expressed satisfaction with the progress CPL has taken into construction of its clinker factory, saying the company has demonstrated how government wants the mining sector to expand as means of diversifying its income.

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“We have for a long time been relying on agriculture for foreign exchange. We believe this clinker factory once completed will help in serving a lot of money that local cement manufacturers spend when importing clinker,” said Msaka.

CPL Chairman, Aslam Gaffar, explained in an interview that the company expects to complete the clinker factory in March next year.

“Currently, our cement prices are high because of high costs of importing clinker as well as transporting it into the country. Apart from reducing the price of local cement, we expect to double the number of our employees once we complete the manufacturing of the clinker factory,” said Gaffar.

He further asked government to find possible ways of protecting local cement manufacturers from foreign products, which he said were negatively affecting the performance of local products on the market.

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