By Wahard Betha
After 7 years of launching and implementing the Buy Malawi Strategy, Government and Malawian business operators will March 18 commemorate the initiative by showcasing a wide spectrum of locally produced products at the Gateway Mall in the capital city, Lilongwe.
The Malawi Government through the Ministry of Trade and Industry introduced the strategy as a way to promote production and consumption of locally produced goods and services.
Led by the Minister of Trade and Industry, Mark Katsonga, government is calling on local residents, visitors and travelers to celebrate the day, which has become an annual event, by buying and consuming locally produced goods products and services.
“The Buy Malawi Day is an important foundation of the Buy Malawi Strategy, which boosts the production and consumption of locally produced goods and services,” says Katsonga.
The minister points out that apart from instilling patriotism, the culture and lifestyle of embracing local products ”will substantially stimulate competitiveness of local firms, industrialization and, job creation.”
Katsonga advises local industries to intently seek produce or service feedback from both their individual and corporate customers in order to get relevant input so that they keep improving and building their competitiveness and satisfying the needs of their local and export markets.
As one way of showcasing local identity and oneness, Katsonga urges all private firms and all institutions to set aside a particular day or days of the commemoration week to wear locally made clothes to foster the Buy Malawi Strategy as well as to empower local designers and tailors, who make up a good proportion of local micro, small and medium entrepreneurs.
He calls on commercial banks to take a vigilant role in the promotion of the strategy by facilitating affordable financial services to innovative enterprises that produce goods and services locally.
He further appeals to land authorities across the country to prioritize allocation of pieces of land to enterprises and investors that intend to promote local products for both the local and international markets.
“Public servants should continue wearing clothes designed and manufactured in Malawi every Friday,” the minister says adding wholesalers, retailers and general distributors must ensure adequate stocks and visibility of local merchandise in visible shops.
According to a draft report of the Malawi FinScope 2019 indicates that Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises in the country continues facing challenges including low information technology penetration and low investment in research, science and technology.
Despite the challenges faced in the sector, the report show that the MSMEs in Malawi contribute a significant share of employment.
The overall Malawi MSME sector is estimated to consist of 1,141,784 business owners registering an increase of about 50 percent from 758,758 in 2012.
About 11 percent of the population own MSMEs and employs approximately 1,825,219 people 1,260,118 in 2012.