Minister of Trade, Industry and Tourism, Henry Mussa, has said there is need for mindset change and patriotism among consumers as well as determination on the part of entrepreneurs if the Buy Malawi initiative is to succeed.
Mussa said this in Lilongwe on Friday when the country commemorated the second Buy Malawi Day when various businesses showcased their locally made products.
The event attracted just over 100 entrepreneurs and government officials.
Mussa said poor patronage of the event by local businesses showed lack of patriotism.
A rollcall by Mussa revealed that there were five controlling officers out of the current 20 ministries, two representatives of buying entities and nearly 30 pavilions of Small and Medium Enterprises (SME)s, companies and organisations.
“We still need to do more in terms of capacity building and access to finance, which are challenges facing SMEs. Mindset is another area of concern. Our consumers, until today, feel that Malawian products are inferior to imported ones. We need to change that,” Mussa said.
Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Development, Goodall Gondwe, said time has come for the public sector to start procuring resources from within the country.
“We saw a good example of the private sector responding to this initiative—for example, that lady with excellent shoes—and we will ensure that their capabilities are enhanced by providing them with machinery to scale up production and I do not see why government should be buying shoes for the police or the army from outside Malawi,” Gondwe said.
Chairperson of the Buy Malawi Strategy Executive Committee, who is also Malawi Confederation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry President, Carl Chokotho, said his committee has established sub committees in various sectors to help engage SMEs and assist them in finding solutions to their challenges.
The Buy Malawi Day aimed to encourage consumption of locally produced goods and services through deliberate interventions.