Some Malawian-owned companies are relocating to neighbouring countries in search of incentives following the harsh economic environment prevailing in the country.
The revelations were made during an interface meeting organised by the Malawi Investment and Trade Centre (Mitc).
Manufacturing Industry in Malawi Chairperson, Ahmed Sunka, said Mitc should develop a strategy to offer local companies incentives that will make it more attractive for them to invest in Malawi.
“A lot of local companies are investing in neighbouring countries like Zambia because Zambia is offering a lot of incentives for manufacturing as well as agro-processing.
“Here in Malawi, we are falling behind, hence local firms are going to invest in Zambia. We need to stop Malawian companies from going to Zambia and let them develop the country more,” Sunka said.
He said Malawian manufacturers need export incentives to promote exports and tax incentives.
“The incentives should include infrastructure development like warehousing for us, manufacturers to be able to keep our raw materials. As is stands, we do not get incentives when we build a warehouse.
“Corporate tax incentives are another area that needs to be looked at. As manufacturers, we need to be given five or ten-year tax incentives so that local companies are able to grow,” he said.
Sunka said the forum was a welcome development as the sector is able to give its input to the government on areas that need to be improved.
“We would like to see some areas improve so that we encourage import substitution and export more.
“Being a landlocked country, we need more support from the government so that we become more competitive and profitable on the international market,” he said.
Mitc Chief Executive Officer, Clement Kumbemba, said it is the government’s wish to see the manufacturing sector thriving.
He said currently, the sector is contributing about 10 percent to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and the government is working to reverse the trend and make the sector more vibrant.
“The manufacturing sector faces challenges with us, the public institutions, and we felt that as the government, we need to know some of these bottlenecks and address them with speed.
“The government would like develop this nation through private sector-led growth and our growth strategy is to see Malawi turn from an importing nation into a producing country and for that to happen, we need to see the manufacturing sector thriving,” he said.