By Mcnab Mwanza
As the country strives for local investment and participation in national development, there is need for the general populous to support existing businesses regardless of assumed political thought.
This local investment approach has to encompass the need to involve the pure local citizens. Countries like Kenya are a good example where major investment has been mainly spurred by local Kenyans.
For a very long time, our nation has always longed for and advocated for the direct involvement of locals in private sector development and this applies to all sectors that significantly contribute to our country’s GDP growth necessary for national development and poverty reduction such as manufacturing, agriculture, tourism , wholesale and retail trading and financial services, just to mention a few.
Traditionally, the financial services sector in Malawi had always been the exclusive realm of foreign nationals and investors with little or no involvement at all of localized citizens that can fit the domain of indigenous Malawians.
It is an open secret that even where sufficient local talent exists to take up top level positions in the financial sector, there continues to be a trend to continuing to hire the si called “white and indian expatriates” who are sometimes less skillful than locals. In a world of free capital mobility and labor movement , that is the price you pay for not supporting the growth of a country on the basis of internal resources .
We ought to change our attitude in this case and support each other. The fact that a local from any corner of our country is running and managing a bank or an insurance firm or any firm within the financial sector means that the profits and anything like investments will be homegrown in the country since charity begins at home. How many stories have we heard of other investors that are not so local who have made all their money in our country but remit every little profit oversees and shortchange our economy in multiple aspects? Indeed we need to change our ways of thinking because the world is changing and democracy has brought a ray of opportunities that in the past were only associated with light skinned persons.
But today in the global village which malawi is part of there are many openings that one can get fully involved. Just last week a local man, a commoner in the name of Clement Stambuli has jointly launched a vessel on the lake with fellow investors called Chambo. We have to accept the notion that investors can be both local and foreign but the prime focus is economic development. And given such a chance any investor enjoys all privileges that a country provides in their investor relationship package. Again such a package gives a huge latitude to local investors since there will be very little externalisation of funds other than for capital investment and the likes.
In our case for the first time we have a bank owned by a local man who enjoys nsima and matemba. All what is derived from the business in the form of profits is invested locally and the terms of obtaining a loan or loans are flexible. And its common knowledge FDH has changed the face of banking. Old players in the industry have been forced to relax their terms just because of the stiff competition being displayed.
Malawi, as a nation, needs to support the first truly local bank and it should be noted that the bank has got no political strings attached. This thinking should be erased from our mind. This bank should be a source of great pride to us since it owned truly owned by a local Malawian who started from humble beginnings and operates professionally. Without being overly zealous , we ought to the first ones to support ought our own local bank. The way we support foreign owned white or Indian banks and businesses, should be the same support we give the local bank.
In this context, the recent misplaced sentiments against FDH Bank should shame every patriotic Malawian as an act of self sabotage. With a robust regulatory system , we should all know that FDH bank is very professional and not political. We should be the last nation to slander our own locally groomed bank with unfounded, malicious and false allegations.
The fact that we are targeting
the bank our brothers and sisters will be jobless since the bank might
opt to down size it’s operations. Lets be each others brothers’ keeper.
Lets restrain each other from such thought of targeting FDH. This is the
cradle of local investments.
We are supposed to support the bank by advising those with poisoned mind. We need to be patriotic and love everything Malawian.