22 March 2014

Malawi: President Joyce Banda Urges Positive Partnership With the Private Sector

Blantyre — President Dr. Joyce Banda has said a positive partnership between government and the private business sector in the country would bring in a good impact to the development of the economy.

The president made the remarks during an interactive dinner with southern region based private sector companies on Friday, 21st March, 2014 at Sanjika Palace in Blantyre.

"Time has come when government and private sector should come together for economy growth of the country. Recently, we have heard of reports indicating that Malawi is on position 73 out of the 163 African countries that are speeding up the growth of their economy and today our economy, the crop in the fields, foreign exchange are looking good whilst inflation and interest rates are going down," said Dr Banda.

She added that her government led by Peoples Party is the only one which has put 2014 to 2019 as years to create an appropriate growth of the private sector.

"In our manifesto, we have left legacy of the past and our focus is on how tomorrow should be developed," she said.

Minister of Finance, Dr Maxwell Mkwezalamba said government has managed for the first half of the budget period from 2013-2014 to perform within the resources that have been available.

"We have been able to implement the budget and this has restored micro-economic stability and we did not seek recourse to domestic borrowing and this shows government's commitment to make sure there is fiscal prudence looking at what we have," he said.

He said there is need as a country not to wholly focus on donor funds and that is to say if donors bring in their help that should be a bonus.

"We need to develop strategies together so as to enhance the development as well as sustaining our economy. We need to improve the quality of the public expenditure as well as maintaining the forex position that is very health at the time," he concluded.

Minister of Industry and Trade, Sosten Gwengwe, said there is much that his ministry is putting in place so that the private sector feels at home and for the growth of the country's economy.

Among other things, Gwengwe said that the reforms that as government put in place will not be left just as the way they are but that will be followed and enacted. There are reforms on business registration systems in Malawi, online business reforms that are expected to complete by April 2014, the Business Centre also will complete by end March, 2014.

"Business licensing regulators are working with the Ministry of Justice and are expected to complete by April 2014. We are also working with the Tanzanian government in setting up a one stop shopping centre in places of Kasumulu and Songwe and this will see offices of the Immigration department, Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA), Agriculture, Malawi Bureau of Standards (MBTS) in the border post.

Government will work very closely with the private sector in order to find win to win solutions and though there have been challenges on the business resident with the private sector, the Immigration Department and Ministry of Justice have looked at the issue in order to reform," concluded Gwengwe.

In his remarks, Minister of Economic Planning and Development, Ralph Jooma said upon government taking over in 2012 they have managed to remove the hard tax the private sector paid and currently the better fruits have started to show off when it can clearly be identified that both government and the private sector have brought back the economy of the country.

"The meeting is expected to be rewarding both to the private sector as well as government on the improvement of the economy. This is not the first time government is meeting the private sector, as we have met them for some time now as one way of appreciating the role they are playing in developing the economy of the country," he said.

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