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Private sector upbeat on economic policy

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The private sector has welcomed the National Economic Empowerment Policy (NeeP), which is currently being developed by the government through the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism.

The policy seeks to address the gap between the poor and the rich by letting more Malawians participate in economic activities.

In separate interviews, the country’s business captains have said the policy is something that was supposed to be implemented in the country long time ago.

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Auc t ion Holdings Commodity Exchange General Manager Davis Manyenje said the policy will help the country to track profits that produce exporters earn.

“Through this policy, we are going to have structured markets whereby produce will be exported through. As you are aware, currently traders are exporting produce any how and no-one can trace where the after, sells profits go,” he said.

Manyenje also said small, scale farmers will see their living standards improve as the structured markets will offer better prices than those being offered now.

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Economic Empowerment Action Group (EEAG) president Lewis Chiwalo said the policy will address the challenges that local businesses are facing.

“First of all, this is a welcome development and it will see businesses graduating from their current status to another level. The policy will mainly protect small businesses from foreign traders who ply the same business,” he said.

Chiwalo said it is good that the government has given itself a time frame to make sure that all consultations are completed and that the policy is taken to Cabinet for approval.

“We would have wanted to see the policy running like yesterday, but from the information we have, it is promising that we will have the policy up and running very soon, which is a positive development. In other countries, this type of a policy has helped in growing businesses,” he said.

Indigenous Business Association of Malawi (Ibam) president Mike Mlombwa said the policy will give room to indigenous business operators to do business without competing with international companies.

“The policy has addressed most issues which the business community in the country has been lobbying for. It is important that the government has heard our cries and has taken a step towards the direction we wanted,” Mlombwa said.

He said business operators have for a long time been competing with international manufacturers in supplying of goods but the policy, once put in place, will address all that as priority will be given to Malawian business operators.

Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism Principal Secretary Cliff Chiunda said no economy can grow by excluding any part of its people and an economy that is not growing cannot integrate all of its citizens in a meaningful way.

“New, inclusive patterns of wealth accumulation must come from both existing and new economic activities. Thus we need higher levels of investment that generates a substantial amount of new wealth and economic opportunities for our people.

“At the same time, ownership patterns must change. Indeed, in order to grow our economy, more enterprises are needed to produce value-added goods and services, to attract investment, and to employ more of our people in productive activities,” Chiunda said.

He said the core component of the NeeP is to create and nurture new enterprises owned by local Malawians while at the same time growing the existing ones.

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