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Chakwera Commits An Enabling Environment For Trade

By Yamikani Yapuwa

The State President, Dr Lazarus Chakwera making a speech during the 32nd International Trade Fair-Photo Arkangel Tembo,Mana

Blantyre, July 28, Mana: President, Dr Lazarus Chakwera has reiterated his administration’s commitment to the creation of an enabling environment to business and trade through various investments being made in the energy and transportation sectors.

He made the commitment on Thursday at Chichiri Trade Fair grounds after officially opening the 32nd Malawi International Trade Fair stating plans were already underway to connect all oil strategic reserves to the port of Nacala through a railway line to cut down cost of ferrying the commodity into the country.

Chakwera said construction of a rail line to connect Matindi Port to another line that connects to Nacala was at an advanced stage whilst the rehabilitation of the line between Balaka and Mchinji was currently in progress.

“Once these are completed, we will start bringing in fuel through rail, which will reduce the cost of importing fuel in the country.

“I know that this has angered those who operate trucks for importing fuel and some have even resorted to sponsoring anti-government demonstrations despite our efforts to appeal to their love of country.

“But importing strategic commodities by rail is what’s best for the country, because it benefits all Malawians, not just a few. So we are staying the course,” the President pointed out.

He assured Malawians that his administration was taking the issue of power supply very seriously and are pulling all levers to address it.

“This does not just include the construction of new power plants and rehabilitation of old ones, but improving the governance of utility service providers and encouraging independent power producers to invest in the energy sector.

“With the US$60 million my Administration has secured from the World Bank for the rehabilitation of Kapichira Hydro Dam, which was damaged by Tropical Storm Ana earlier this year, we expect that the long blackouts currently being experienced will be resolved by Christmas.

 “Once that happens, we will get back on track with our goal to raise our power generation capacity to 1000MW by 2025, and that will make a big difference in the productivity of our industries and their capacity to trade within and across our borders,” Chakwera said.

Malawi Confederation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (MCCCI) President, Lekani Katandula called for an end to culture of bureaucracies in public institutions that operate in the energy space to allow the private sector participate fully and unhindered in generating electricity

“The lip-service, we have so far paid to value addition is not only due to low levels of productivity in agriculture but because the most critical catalyst for industrialization, energy has been in short supply for a long time.

“We are aware that efforts are being made to transform the sector. All we can do is to rally behind the efforts you are already making, and request that bureaucracies in public institutions that operate in the energy space be eliminated to allow us, as private sector, participate fully and unhindered in generating electricity,” he said.

Katandula said with adequate energy, manufacturing, which has the greatest potential to catapult this country into economic success can witness a boom because of its huge multiplier effects.

“This will enable us export products with high added value content and generate the much-needed foreign exchange while substituting some, if not most, of the imports into this country with locally produced products.

“Your Excellency, although this may sound like a far-fetched dream today, it is possible. Nzotheka and it is fully aligned to our vision as reflected in Malawi 2063,” he added.

According to Katandula, there are 198 exhibitors occupying 247 pavilions out of these, 182 are local and 16 are foreign with one exhibitor from Mozambique, 14 SME exhibitors from Zimbabwe and the Indian High Commission.

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