The Malawi Confederation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry(MCCCI) and newly appointed Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs Simplex Chithyola Banda on Thursday last week engaged in a dialogue that tackled sticky issues affecting the business environment
The dialogue, initiated by the Minister, was meant to appreciate the business climate and the economy from industry players perspective and share strategies that can help address challenges facing businesses
MCCCI team was represented by the MCCCI President Lekani Katandula , Chief Executive Officer Chancellor Kaferapanjira and Director of Business Environment and Policy Advocacy Madalitso Kazembe.
The meeting which took place at the Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs offices in Lilongwe, tackled a series of issues among others foreign exchange market , cost of financing and availability of loanable funds, inflation and impact of economic shocks of Agriculture.
MCCCI highlighted that the scarce and costly foreign exchange that the country is facing has impacted the importation of goods including key commodities such as fuel, raw materials for production, machinery, medicines but has also poised challenges in paying Supplies who now demand upfront payments.
To address this, the Chamber, implored Government to improve management of foreign exchange in the country by among others considering a managed float exchange rate system. MCCCI further appealed to the Minister to ensure that the energy projects move with spread to close the power supply deficit in the country.
The Chamber also singled out the delays in commissioning the Malawi-Mozambique power interconnector, delays on the 300 megawatt Kam’mwamba coal fired project and weakness in transmission as key issues that need quick solutions.
In the logistics sector , the chamber implored the Minister to look into and address delays that businesses encounter at the boarder despite introduction one stop boarder post, improve alternative transport modes such as rail and introduce by-laws in the cities which penalize offloading of goods at premises during the day is unfair.
In his address, Chithyola Banda acknowledged the challenges businesses are facing and expresses confidence that continued dialogue will constitute a solid foundation for pursuing shared strategic priorities .
He indicated that his plan to stabilize the ailing Malawi economy is to focus on addressing fuel, forex, food and fertilizer woes in what he calls the 4F plan.
Besides the Minister, the government team also comprised Secretary to the Treasury Macdonald Mafuta Mwale and other senior officials in the Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs .
Caption: Chithyola Banda (4th from left) pose with the MCCCI team and officials from the Ministry