Ministry of Trade gazettes Small and Medium Enterprises Order

The Ministry of Trade has gazetted the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) Order that enables enterprises of such nature to have reserved space to supply goods and services to the government and its agencies.

The gazetting of the Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets (Participation By Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises) Order, 2020, was disclosed by the Minister of Trade Honourable Sosten Gwengwe on Tuesday 15 December, 2020 in Lilongwe.

This comes after the Minister in recent months led the regional consultation meetings with relevant stakeholders on the order.

The order has been published in the Malawi Gazette Notice No 96, dated 14th December, 2020 and prescribes preferences and reservations for micro, small and medium enterprises and marginalized groups involved in public procurement of goods, works and services in Malawi.

Speaking to the press on Tuesday, Gwengwe said the Order was necessary because the new Government has noted that SMEs are facing a variety of bottlenecks to conduct business with Government, which among other things, include stiff competition from big businesses.

As such only a few SMEs are able to do business with government due to stiff competition from the big players that monopolized almost all sectors of the economy.

He also noted that the Ministry of Trade in consultation with other institutions will immediately start a screening and registration process for SMEs.

He indicated that different coloured certificates will be issued to SMEs depending on their categories (whether they are micro, small, medium or marginalized).

“From today, starting with this budget thing will change towards inclusive participation in Government procurement to live up to the Tonse slogan of Malawi wokomera tonse. It is for this reason that today l am very excited to stand before you and say that the time of creating an enabling environment to encourage Malawian SMEs to participate more actively in the procurement process has arrived. What the government has done is to economically empower the MSMEs, the aim is to capacitate this group of people to participate in, contribute to and benefit from growth processes in ways that recognize the value of their contributions, respect their dignity and make it possible for a fair distribution of the benefits of growth of this country,” said Gwengwe.

He further added that the government believes that investing in these MSMEs sets a direct path towards poverty eradication and inclusive economic growth.

“The outcome which we see is that most of these MSMEs will now invest in niche ventures that are adjacent or commensurate with the sectors that have been isolated under the order. The Process to isolate these products and services under the MSME Order was transparent and it was done in consultation with the SMEs themselves throughout the whole country,” said Gwengwe.

The Minister also disclosed that Section 44(10) of the PPD Act, commonly known as the 60:40 Regulation (which requires procuring entities to ensure prioritization of all bids submitted to give preference to 60 per cent indigenous black Malawians and 40 per cent others for national competitive bidding) are being finalized and will be gazzetted in the near future.

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