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World Bank supports Malawi trade reforms

By Mike Van Kamande

Lilongwe, June 9: The World Bank says it is in support of reforms so that trade becomes engine for growth for Malawi.

Speaking on Friday during a meeting with Malawi Trade and Industry Minister Simplex Chithyola Banda, the World Bank Regional director for Eastern and Southern Africa Asad Alam said the country should increase its trade basket and arrest unrealistic trade imbalances.

“Malawi has been stuck in the no growth situation economically for so long and there is need for the trade and industry ministry to champion reforms that would increase exports and import substitutions.

“Trade and industry need to create jobs but there is need for market determined exchange rate and reforms, review of economic policy that will give local products leverage,” he said.

In his remarks Chithyola Banda said government is looking at the regulatory and legal framework that facilitates trade reforms and local industrialization among others.

“We are grateful the bank has hinted on helping us benefit from World Trade Organisation e-commerce platform which will help in the expansion and efficiency of CD1 form utilization. The Bank has helped with One-Stop Border Control management systems and is bankrolling the FINES project.

“In a country where imports exceed exports you need to devise mechanism such as value addition to expand the export base hence promotion of local industrialization. On exchange rate it is not good to simply rush for devaluation before looking at social safety nets to cushion the poor,” Chithyola Banda said.

World Bank has agreed to assist both technically and financially in the review of the Scrap Metal Act (1971), Control of Goods Act (Coga) and has since invited the minister to Washington DC for consultative sessions with the bank’s experts.

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