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Mitc moves to boost exports

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The Malawi Investment and Trade Centre (Mitc) says it is currently working on shifting its focus from traditional exports to non-traditional value added export products.

The move, according to Mitc, is aimed at addressing balance of trade between imports and exports.

Mitc Chief Executive Officer, Clement Kumbemba, said the amount of exports Malawi sends to other countries is worrying.

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He said the trade centre will continue with its drive to engage as many exporters as possible and link them to services that will empower them to produce and export more.

“We are not doing very well in terms of exports as, traditionally; we have been importing a lot. We are importing almost double our exports. Our import bill is at about $3billion against $1.2 billion of our exports.

“Under the Enhanced Integrated Framework programme, we are not looking at traditional exports but rather non-traditional value added products. Our focus is to ensure that Malawi is also building capacities in export products like pigeon peas,” he said.

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Kumbemba said Malawi is slowly becoming a dumping ground due to an influx of imports.

“In a liberalised market, Malawi cannot close its borders. As we are opening our borders, this should be a wakeup call to all Malawians to think investment so that we do not become a dumping ground.

“With the liberalisation, you can eventually also import. But, what is good for the country is that we are able to produce and export. If, we indeed become more of an importing nation, then, where are we going to get our foreign exchange to pay for those imports,” Kumbemba said.

He, however, said over the years, there has been a reversal in imports, especially for the cooking oil sector.

“We should create special incentives or taxes that are accepted by the World Trade Organisation (WTO) that will give advantage to our producers to thrive. By and by, we should be able to see a reversal in the balance of trade,” he said.

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