By Sylvester Kumwenda
Lilongwe, March 28, Mana: President Dr Lazarus Chakwera says it is high time the country arrests the practice of some unscrupulous private sector players who monopolize the awards of government contracts by hiding behind multiple registered companies.
He was speaking Sunday evening at Ntunthama State Lodge in Lilongwe during his monthly address to Malawians, where he lamented that the malpractice results into a culture of greed, corruption, capture of government procurement systems and enrichment of a few, at the expense of others equally deserving.
Chakwera said some private sector players submit multiple applications for a single government contract under different companies belonging to the same owner, and also apply for contracts in multiple Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) across the government machinery.
“The net effect of this pernicious practice is that the contracts across MDAs and the pay outs for them are concentrated in the hands of a few, who grow richer under every administration while everyone else gets poorer.
“The time has come to break this stupid monopoly and replace it with government policies, legislation, and practice that promote inclusive economic growth. I am therefore directing all heads of MDAs to cooperate with my Administration in finding ways of ensuring that no supplier of goods and services is allowed to hide behind multiple companies to monopolize procurement opportunities,” said Chakwera.
During the address, the president also directed that government agencies and MDAs should prioritize procurement of locally made products like office furniture with an aim of promoting Malawi’s talented youth and the local small and medium industries.
He also as such urged the Malawi Bureau of Standards (MBS) and Small and Medium Enterprises Development Institute (SMEDI) to help build the capacity of local entrepreneurs wishing to supply locally made goods and services to government.
“At the same time, I expect that local suppliers, manufacturers, and artisans will work with these agencies to raise standards.
“However, I am putting all public servants on notice regarding these policies because any MDA found to not be adhering to this will be answerable and bear the consequences of their failure,” said the president.
Chakwera also took time to update Malawians on the current situation in the economy circles, saying despite a recent uptick to 8.3 percent in February, Malawi’s economy for 2021 remains positive with a GDP growth rate of 3.8 percent, which puts the economy on the right trajectory towards achieving a medium to long term inflation target of 5 percent.
This he said will also be bolstered by the commencement of the agriculture marketing season for Malawi’s export crops like tobacco and soy.