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New law to boost ‘indigenous’ firms

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Parliament has passed an insertion to the Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets Act which forces government to buy a minimum of 60 percent of its procurement needs from black indigenous Malawians.

The insertion of Clause 44 sub-section 10 of the Act was proposed by Karonga Central MP, Frank Mwenifumbo, and was passed by Parliament recently.

Mwenifumbo argued in the house that though Malawi has enjoyed 53 years of political independence, Malawians remain financially dependent because most of the business by government is controlled by foreigners.

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The legislator argued that having a legislation which could force government and its ministries as well as departments to offer a bulk of its contracts to black indigenous Malawians could be the only way of making Malawians financially stable.

In an interview last week, Mwenifumbo said government being a major buyer in the country needs to start taking steps to economically empower its citizens.

He argued most of the poverty in Malawi is man-made, saying the procurement laws in the past favoured foreigners at the expense of locals.

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“I am happy that the insertion of the clause was passed by Parliament. Time has come for Malawians to be financially stable.

“I strongly believe that by having a lion’s share of government business, Malawians will develop and be able to finance their own budget,” said Mwenifumbo.

The insertion was passed with other amendments of the Act aimed at curbing corruption in the awarding of contracts.

The house also passed an amendment curtailing of powers of the president in the appointment of the director of the office of public procurement.

Commenting on the amendments, Indigenous Businesses Association of Malawi (Ibam) president Mike Mlombwa hailed parliamentarians for putting the economic wellbeing of Malawians first.

“This is what we have been fighting for for many years. With legislation in place, government officials will be forced to comply, thereby empowering indigenous Malawians.

“It is unfortunate that for the past 53 years, there has been no single indigenous Malawian who we can comfortably identify as being a billionaire in dollar terms. This is the beginning of good things to come,” Mlombwa said.

He appealed to local Malawians to ensure that the quality of goods supplied to government is high.

“With the indigenous Malawians economically empowered, I see no reason why we should struggle to finance our national budget,” Mlombwa said.

He added that foreigners are welcome to partner indigenous Malawians to ensure a win-win situation

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