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Procurement law to benefit all—Minister

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By Patience Lunda:

Amid concerns that the Public Procurement and Disposal of Public (PPDA) Assets Regulation 2020 will be favouring ‘black’ Malawians only, Minister of Trade, Sosten Gwengwe has said the law will benefit every micro, small and medium entrepreneurs in the country.

Among other things, the PPDA regulations stipulate that 60 percent of all contracts under national competitive bidding will be awarded to indigenous black Malawians and 40 percent to others.

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Gwengwe made the remarks during a stakeholder consultative meeting for public procurement and disposal of public assets in Mzuzu City on Monday.

“If you go to Botswana, Kenya or South Africa, there has to be some mechanisms that if there is an economic injustice, being put on a certain section of society, then it is government’s job to do something on those ones,” he said.

The ministry and the PPDA are making consultations on Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets (Participation by Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises) order of 2020 and Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets (Administration of Preferential Treatment) Regulation 2020 so that they are gazetted and get operational.

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These are sections 44 and 36 in the PPDA Act which were passed in 2017.

However, some business operators including Maravi Asian Development Association (Mada) have petitioned PPDA’s Director General, Ellias Hausi to clarify on how the regulations will work so as they favour everybody including Malawians of other origins.

The group claims that section 44 (10) and the draft regulations aim to accord preference to “black indigenous Malawians”.

But according to Gwengwe, the concerned parties should forward their views through right channels as Section 44 of the Malawi constitution looks at the empowerment of some sections of the society.

Gwengwe said it is the responsibility of the government to intervene where there seems to be an economic injustice.

This was the last consultative meeting to be held after which the views shall be consolidated and sent to ministry of justice to fast-track the gazetting process.

Similar engagements were held in Blantyre and Lilongwe which were being organised by Ministry of Trade in conjunction with PPDA.

Speaking after the consultative meeting, Traditional Authority Kyungu of Karonga and Chitipa Districts said the regulation will help struggling micro, small and medium enterprises in the country.

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