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‘Respect 60:40 procurement law’

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By Taonga Sabola:

The government has said procurement entities in government have no excuse not to implement the 60:40 procurement law.

Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism, Ken Ndala, was speaking in Blantyre on Tuesday on the side-lines of the launch of a leather and textile products buyer—seller meet.

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Lawmakers in 2017 passed an insertion to the Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets Act, which forces the government to buy a minimum of 60 percent of its procurement needs from black indigenous Malawians.

The lawmakers argued that, though Malawi has enjoyed over 50 years of political independence, most businesses are controlled by foreigners.

However, despite the insertion of the legislation, procurement entities have continued to disregard the law.

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Briefing reporters on Tuesday, Ndala said the amendment of the law makes it mandatory for all procurement entities in government to follow it.

Ndala said it is unfortunate that some entities continue to ignore the amendment when procuring goods and services.

“It is not an option. It is a law and, therefore, has to be respected,” Ndala said.

He said his ministry would continue to sensitise other procurement entities in government to the need to abide by the law.

Ndala said the government is impressed with the quality of leather and textile products produced by Malawian small and medium enterprises.

According to the Malawi Leather Value Chain Strategy of 2015 to 2024, the consumption of footwear in Malawi is estimated at 11.5 million pairs per annum. This excludes importation of second-hand footwear whose import figure cannot be easily ascertained.

According to the Textile Clothing Value Chain Strategy of 2017 to 2021, the country’s textile and clothing market has grown by an average annual growth rate of 14 percent between 2011 and 2015.

In 2015, the value of the textile and clothing market was estimated at $410 million, which is about six percent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) despite increased volume of used clothes.

The recent market study commissioned by the Malawi Enterprise Production Enhancement (Mepe) project revealed that Malawian customers are looking for high quality products at a reasonable price.

When the study compared with imported products, it concluded that the products being produced by cooperatives supported by Mepe match with imported products and, in some cases, are even better.

Indigenous Businesses Association of Malawi President, Mike Mlombwa, Friday hailed Ndala for the clarification on the insertion to the Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets Act.

Mlombwa said Capital Hill needs to start disciplining procurement officials who are not abiding by the law.

“This is simple. If they are not following the dictates of the law, then they are breaking it. So, they have to face the consequences,” Mlombwa said.

Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets Act acting Director Genera, Timothy Kalembo, said his institution is consulting the Ministry of Justice on the implementation of the 60:40 legislation.

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