Vice President Saulos Chilima, who is also Minister of Economic Planning, Development and Public Sector Reforms had a busy schedule in Blantyre on Friday engaging in a "candid discussion" with the private sector before visiting Malawi Bureau of Standards to check progress on some of the game changer reforms being implemented.
Starting the day at 9:15 after going through strict coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic measures that included checking his temperature and washing hands, the functional vice-president went straight to the meeting which started 15 minutes late because the number of participants tripled and the room had to be extended.
Chilima said he engaged the private sector to solicit views and discuss with them their role in building a new Malawi under the leadership of President Lazarus Chakwera.
"As engine of economic growth, the private sector has a huge role to play in national development through job creation, provision of critical goods and services and paying taxes that finance investment and government operations," wrote Chilima.
Chilima said the discussion was candid and that the captains of the industry voiced out a number of concerns from the private sector partially mentioning rigidity and work ethic.
"The captains of the industry opened up and brought on the table issues that they want improved in the public sector to ignite passion from the private sector players. We will be taking on board some of the suggestions to ensure that both the Public Sector and the Private Sector pull in one direction," said Chilima, a marketor.
About 50 private sector leaders were invited but Nyasa Times reporters said over a 100 turned up, putting the hotel into panic before deciding to extend the room.
Almost every private sector player was present from construction to those in the banking sector including Small Scale Business led by their association leaders.
Displaying his workaholic tendency, from the meeting Chilima went straight to Malawi Bureau of Standards (MBS) offices to appreciate the progress on the Standardization Quality Assurance and Metrology (SQAM) project which, ironically he presided the start of its construction in 2017 when he Vice President under Peter Mutharika.
"Much as construction progress has stalled but I have been assured that in the next 10 months - the One Stop Centre that among others will see Malawi's products being accepted on the international market without retesting - will have been completed. Our export products will also be tested locally once construction is completed," further said Chilima.
The One Stop Centre is expected to help government save resources that it uses to send products and goods elsewhere for testing.