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SMEs decry first half performance

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Mike Mlombwa

Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) have described the first half of 2020 as worst period for doing business in recent past.

Players in the sector blame it on poor operating environment characterised by political impasse coupled with effects of the Covid-19 pandemic which led to a slowdown in most economic activities.

Indigenous Business Association of Malawi president, Mike Mlombwa, said apart from the said challenges, most business opportunities were given to foreign operators at the expense of local players with equal capacity.

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Mlombwa said since there seems to be sanity on the political arena following the June 23 fresh presidential election, there is need for SMEs to be supported going forward if they are to thrive.

“We want the new government to think deep and make sure that money kept in houses should start circulating and after that they should start empowering businesses through access to loans,” Mlombwa explained.

In a separate interview, Chamber for Small and Medium Businesses president, James Chiutsi, said businesses could not perform to the best of their capacity in the first half of the year as there was too much uncertainty on operating environment.

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Small and Medium Enterprises Development Institute spokesperson, Alinafe Mpoka, said SMEs need to find opportunities in the pandemic for survival.

He urged players in the sector to be innovative and creative to offer products and services that would be on demand.

Last week, business and economic analysts rated the first half of 2020 as challenging as the country faced the double impact of Covid-19 and fresh presidential elections

Malawi went to the polls on June 23 in a fresh presidential election which saw the then opposition leader, Lazarus Chakwera, trouncing the then president Peter Mutharika by a wide margin.

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