‘Industry still nursing wounds from shocks’
The Malawi Confederation of Chambers Commerce and Industry (MCCCI) has said most industry players were yet to recover from economic shocks the country has faced in the past three years, a situation stiffling chances for growth.
The chamber has outlined exogenous shocks such as Covid pandemic, effects of the Russo-Ukrainian War and domestic challenges including harsh weather conditions among factors deterring players from effectively contributing towards national economic growth.
MCCCI President Lekani Katandula was speaking Wednesday when President Lazarus Chakwera opened the 33rd Malawi International Trade Fair at the Trade Fair Ground in Blantyre.
According to Katandula, these factors have put a strain on the industry’s ability to produce enough locally and produce for export.
He singled out Covid pandemic, which he said created unprecedented global supply chain disruptions and in turn, made it difficult for local industries to import the much-needed raw materials and other inputs.
“This led to a decline in industrial and agricultural output. The cyclones damaged local infrastructure, including electricity generation infrastructure, which is so critical to industrial activity and for irrigation.
“The foregoing developments have resulted in reduced foreign exchange earnings from the reduced exports, and increased demand for imports, to meet domestic consumption needs,” Katandula said.
According to Katandula, the outcome has been a shortage of foreign exchange, which has hurt the performance of the economy badly.
In his address, President Chakwera said his government remained committed towards economic recovery.
He reiterated the need for concerted effort in the process.
“The toll that these factors have had on economic productivity is enormous, as can be seen at the reduced numbers of exhibitors at this year’s Trade Fair.
“But while we accept that none of these causes to lost productivity in the economy are of our doing, we can never accept that having low productivity in the economy is our fate. We must maintain our resolve to build this lost productivity back stronger and better,” Chakwera said.
Minister of Industry and Trade Simplex Chithyola Banda reaffirmed the government’s commitment towards creating an enabling environment for doing business in the country.