Local small-scale business operators in Mzuzu City are not seeing eye to eye with their foreign counterparts who are also running businesses in the city, whom they accuse of ‘trying to drive locals out of business’ by taking over even ‘small’ enterprises such as butcheries.
Some of the local traders, under the umbrella Beef Butcheries Association, have pointed accusatory fingers towards Asians, saying they are the ones perpetuating the acts through collusion with locals.
But the Asian business community in the city has laughed off the accusations.
Beef Butchery Association Secretary, Austin Khondowa, said their group has discovered that the foreigners use Malawians to register their businesses.
Khondowa said most townships are currently flooded with foreign owned butcheries, alleging further that the foreigners have won supply tenders all over the place.
“These local people [the ones allegedly being used] are supplying beef in supermarkets of Indian nationals. They are everywhere and the local vendors are no longer winning markets. What are Malawians going to be doing if these Asians are getting all our businesses?” he queried.
Chairperson for the association, Jevi Ngulube, said the Ministry of Trade should intervene on the matter.
Ngulube suggested that foreigners should only come to Malawi to invest in big ventures.
“They came here to establish big investments and not do such local businesses. We are failing to take care of our families because of them,” Ngulube said.
But Chairperson of the Asian business community in Mzuzu, Nazir Quareshy, refuted claims that they have gone to the extent of owning small scale businesses.
Minister of Trade, Sosten Ngwengwe, referred the matter to the ministry’s Public Relations Officer, Mayeso Msokera who asked for more time.
Member of Parliament for Mulanje Bale, Victor Musowa, also recently spoke in Parliament against foreign investors who take advantage of local people when conducting their businesses.