Malawi Agricultural & Industrial Investment Corporation (MAIIC) has lashed out at Malawi Confederation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (MCCCI), stressing that the chamber is mostly negative in its comments which is affecting efforts to grow the economy.
In an interview MAIIC Chief Executive Officer, Taz Chaponda, cited the recent ‘Assessment of the Business Environment in 2019’ published by the chamber saying the assessment presents inaccurate information by stating that MAIIC is not fully operational yet.
He added the overall assessment of MCCCI on prospects for the Malawi economy was fairly pessimistic failing to capture the ongoing stability that the economy has enjoyed with respect to declining interest rates, a stable exchange rate and subdued inflationary pressure.
“The views being presented by MCCCI in its recent assessment are that practically, everything is negative. Such pessimism only perpetuates a poor picture of the Malawi economy and serves to discourage international investors.
“There are of course challenges in the current environment, but we also need to capitalise on positive tailwinds that are emerging and the growing momentum as we enter the New Year. As we ended 2019, a number of development partners including IFAD [International Fund for Agricultural Development] and World Bank came forward with additional financial support for the economy. Similarly, the IMF [International Monetary Fund] approved budget support following a successful program review,” Chaponda said.
He added taking a negative view of everything cannot possibly help sell the country to investors.
“As other countries in the region struggle with very challenging macroeconomic conditions, Malawi stands out as a strong economic performer. Let us stop the blame game and start working together to bolster development in this country,” Chaponda said.
However the Chamber, while acknowledging that the MAIIC is entitled to its opinion, stressed that it has a responsibility to play to achieve the desired goal which they should stick to.
MCCCI Chief Executive Officer, Chancellor Kaferapanjira said they only present facts.
“Our concern is the delay in disbursements (of funds) and private sector expects money to flow out of MAIIC. Management of MAIIC has no idea what the private sector went through to have that organisation established and what the expectations were. They need to stick to facts,” said Kafelapanjira.
President of the chamber, Prince Kapondamgaga, added as far as they are concerned, the opinion of MCCCI as a voice of the private sector remains.
“Our voice reflects the views of our constituents as key players on the ground. If they think we focused on the negatives and not the positives then they have a simple duty to do by just outlining those positives which may be our members are failing to observe and experience at the moment,” Kapondamgaga said.
A latest Malawi Business Climate Survey by the Chambers indicated that business activities slowed down in 2019 largely because of political impasse after the May 21 elections.
It further said business operations were also constrained by several bottlenecks including energy woes, high cost of finance, excessive government borrowing, high corruption levels and poor quality and high cost of telecommunications services.
The chamber said the obstacles outpaced any registered gains.