In its continued efforts to help improve lives of people in the country, Pacific Limited has ventured into a project in which they are hiring rural Malawians as motorbike operators.
The hired people are being given bikes which they operate as taxis in rural areas and the proceeds are used for paying the operators at the end of the month.
The project which is in the pilot phase now involves interested people obtaining motorbikes from the company in order to work as bicycle taxi operators locally known as ‘a Kabanza’.
The target remains people in the rural areas which people depend on bicycles for transportation and are normally hard to reach on vehicles.
In an interview with Malawi24 on Friday, the project’s operations manager, Patrick Kanyangala said that the company obtains interests from the operators and make agreements with them before they actually give them the bikes.
According to Kanyangala, as part of the agreement, the operators are supposed to make a payment of K2500 daily in six days and an agreed day is set for their holiday and also one they could have services on the bikes.
He said that every operator signs a 40 month contract at whose end they will be given an opportunity to permanently purchase the bike at a price as low as K75,000. ‘’When the operators show commitment in the deal, they have a chance to make the bike theirs. They will just have to pay K75,000. At the end of the month, we pay them K20,000 as their monthly perks,’’ said Kanyangala.
When asked why the company thought of this idea, he said that Pacific Limited saw the need to economically empower people in rural areas, improve the transport hustles that people in rural areas meet as well to alleviate wastes of time and energy resources pertaining to the use of bicycles over motor bikes.
In the pilot phase, up to 60 motor bikes have been distributed to operators in Balaka, Thyolo, Machinga, Salima, Nkhotakota and Mangochi among others.
At the moment, Pacific Limited says it has received an overwhelming response from both the communities the projects has rolled out in and the beneficiaries themselves.
There is however more demand for the bikes as evidenced in Salima where they have distributed 15 bikes even though 40 people have shown interest.
Kanyangala disclosed that the company intends to reach out to at least a higher population of Malawians by the end of this year with another target of 1,000 bikes in the next 15 to 20 months.
As a means of making sure they have trust worthy people in the project, the company involves the approval of local leaders in the areas, a move they also believe makes the company part of the communities.
He also revealed that they have trained mechanics in the areas who have the tasks to service the bikes and they act more or less like agents for the operators.
As part of also upgrading their knowhow as far as small businesses is concerned, the people are also taught basic entrepreneurship skills which has opened up their minds on other businesses they can run in the course of the taxi operation.
However Kanyangala says a few challenges which they have faced in the pilot phase could be dealt with as the economy is getting stable.
‘’The core challenge we are facing now is that some of the operators could meet the agreement payments to us on numerous reasons such as having no customers at times. But it’s our hope that as the hunger scare and other social woes are getting to end, we should be able to overcome such challenges,’’ he said.
The project which started from 10th January 2016 has also received a boost with stakeholders including local authorities and government supporting the initiative.
This is just one of the corporate social responsibilities of Pacific Limited, which is a group of companies that runs the Pacific Hotel and Chambo Fisheries.
Interested operators are asked to contact Patrick Kanyangala on 0993645611