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Malawi government to flush out foreigners trading in rural areas


Effective July 1,2015, Malawi will put into effect the new business licensing Act, which targets to flush out foreigners from doing retail trading in rural areas.

The ministry of Industry and Trade has said, foreign traders will have to pay $250,000 an equivalent of K108 million to start a business in the country.

Principal Secretary for Industry and Trade Cliff Chiunda said foreigners whose core activity is to do retail trading should operate in cities, thus Blantyre, Lilongwe, Zomba, Mzuzu and municipalities of Luchenza and Kasungu.

Chiunda also said all foreigners, who intend to carry out their trading activities should seek approval from the ministry.

“Foreign traders who may wish to carry out business outside the areas designated must seek an approval from the chief business licensing officer and the investment approval committee,” he said.

Minister of Industry and Trade, Joseph Mwanamvekha said the Act aims to control foreigners in terms of retail trading.

He said some foreigners are doing businesses that can be operated by Malawians.

“If we go to the rural areas, you will find Burundians, Nigerians, Chinese and other foreign nationals operating small businesses that can be done by Malawians,” said Mwanamvekha.

He said the government would like to encourage foreign nationals to invest in meaningful businesses that would create jobs for Malawians.

Mwanamvekha said foreign traders need to be in designated places for easy monitoring.

“We need investors that will be involved in production and not mere retail trading. We need investors that will create employment for our youths and also generate revenue for the country.

“The ministry will soon embark on a sensitisation campaign on the new Act, so that all stakeholders are conversant with the regulations,” he said.

Foreign traders likely to be affected by the new law are the Chinese and Burundians who operate retail shops and restaurants in most rural areas across the country.

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