Companies complain about taxes, blackouts, foreign currency scarcity

Steve Chinyamula

Malawian companies in the manufacturing sector have appealed to the government to address some of the challenges they are facing which include tax regime, smuggling of products and power outages which they say are derailing industrialization process.

This was disclosed on Saturday night in Blantyre where the National Product Magazine was presenting awards to outstanding manufacturing companies marking their celebrations of their 80th edition.

Speaking at the event, Zachariah Nyirenda who represented the private sector said if the challenges are left unaddressed, the country will hardly achieve the 2063 agenda, the industrialization policy in particular.

Nyirenda mentioned that the manufacturing sector is facing high transportation costs, too much taxes, product smuggling and electricity outages which he said is compromising operations of companies.

“Top of the list, is the tax regime; if we are to grow the manufacturing sector in Malawi let’s consider on tax regime. This is hindering growth of the country. Another challenge is product smuggling; there are a lot of products being smuggled into this country and at the end they are hampering the sales of homemade products.

“We are also facing inadequate power supply which is hitting us hard day and night. Running on gensets, running on diesel and petrol is not that easy and this is putting our production cost very high, affecting our returns and margins,” complained Nyirenda.

He further explained that the intermittent foreign currency availability is also giving them some tough times claiming the scarcity has resulted into very exorbitant rates and added that if the government could address such issues, the country will easily develop.

Reacting to the complaints was the guest of honor, principal secretary in the Ministry of Trade and Industry, Francis Zhuwawo, who said the Malawi government is very much committed to addressing challenges facing the manufacturing sector.

Zhuwawo quickly admitted that the country is fully aware of some of the outlined challenges being faced by the private sector and said it is doing what it can to address some of the challenges thereby stabilizing operations of the manufacturing sector.

“I want to assure you that government is fashioning a transformative industrialization agenda that will allow you in the manufacturing sector to thrive. As many of you are aware, our ministry has an industrialist in the name of Mark Katsonga Phiri who is fully aware of the importance of private sector in driving the growth of the country’s economy,” Zhuwawo said.

In his speech, founder for National Product Magazine Arthur Steve Chinyamula said the awards presented to companies are one way of recognizing local brands and making sure that local businesses should thrive internationally.

Steve Chinyamula further added that there is need to always recognize individuals and companies which are uplifting lives of ordinary people in the country, hence the gesture which he said will encourage excellent service delivery in the manufacturing sector.

Bushiri getting an award

Some of the companies in the manufacturing industry which have been awarded for their unparalleled contribution to Malawi’s economy include Dragon Private Ltd, CPL Njati Cement, Speedy’s Food Industries Ltd, Demeter Seed Ltd and Pharmanova Ltd just to mention a few.

The magazine has also awarded founder of ECG Jesus Nation Church, Prophet Shepherd Bushiri for his outstanding humanitarian works in Malawi.