The Road Transport Operators Association (RTOA) has said it is committed to working with the government to save the little dollars available in the country.
New RTOA President Bisani Banda was speaking in Lilongwe on Saturday after being elected to the position during an RTOA Special General Meeting.
Banda takes over from Abdul Lambat, who has been at the helm of the association since 2014.
Banda will be deputised by Harry Chimenya, who came second during polls held at Crossroads Hotel in Lilongwe.
In his maiden interview soon after being elected, Banda said he would like to bring back the confidence that RTOA used to exude in the past.
According to Banda, the lack of confidence has seen the emergence of many splinter associations coming from RTOA.
“RTOA is the mother of all associations in the road transport business. We are committed to bringing back that glory,” he said.
Banda added that they would like to help government in saving the much-needed foreign exchange by providing efficient transport services paid in kwacha.
He observed that over the years, the transport business had been dominated by foreign operators, who are paid in dollars, thereby draining the little forex available in the market.
“We want government to use forex for essential services such as medicine, fertiliser and purchase of fuel but not transport.
“Having listened to the speech by President Lazarus Chakwera on Tuesday night, we feel we have a role to play to ensure that we save the little forex that Malawi has. With the current forex situation in Malawi, paying international transporters in dollars is the luxury we cannot afford as a country,” Banda said.
He added that giving business to locals could also help in the job creation agenda as the country pursues the one million jobs target.
Delegates to the meeting, the first since 2014, also elected Chatheka Mangazi as the organisation’s honorary secretary with Tahir Khan as honorary treasurer. The position of deputy honorary treasurer went to Patricia Machika.
The meeting has also elected Aslam Gaffar, Iqubal Mahommed and Mansur Elias as the organisation’s trustees.
During the meeting, delegates also elected Zaine Osman, Petros Kilembe, Shiraz Omar, Dan Kalunga, Alfred Longwe and Hope Nyirongo as committee members.
RTOA Executive Director Chrissy Flao expressed hope that the new executive would revamp the association.