Malawi Vice President Chilima Says Investment, Trade Key In Development Agenda
Vice President Saulos Chilima on Monday said investment and trade were key in government’s development agenda.
Chilima said government recognized the importance of investment and trade in creating jobs, expanding domestic tax base, attaining sustainable economic growth and improving living standards of people.
He was speaking when he opened the 2016 Malawi Investment Forum (MIF) at Bingu International Conventional Centre in Lilongwe.
The MIF is being held under the theme ‘Smart Partnership for Private Sector-Led Industrialization’.
Chilima, opening the forum on behalf of President Peter Mutharika, said government had also prioritized safety and security of investors just as it prioritized security for all residents.
He said his government recognized factors that influenced investors’ decisions to invest in a particular economy and that in that regard, Malawi government cherished the enviable political stability.
“My government is aggressively reversing all negative economic trends. We are no longer approaching the development agenda in the business as usual fashion.
“New principles and structures are being put in place to do away with the older ways that have hitherto failed to deliver,” he said, reading from a prepared speech.
He said government had implemented various reforms aimed at re-structuring processes and procedures as a way of further enabling the environment on investment.
Chilima said investors would find a public service that is efficient, effective and professional that served the interests of business community very well.
“Already, the one stop shop at the Malawi Investment and Trade Centre (MITC) has enabled the country to reduce the cost and number of days it takes to register a business in Malawi as we continue on this path to guarantee ease of doing business in the country,” he said.
He said there were also legal and policy changes that had been made to create an attractive investment destination.
“These include land-related laws some of which will facilitate acquisition of land for investors both in agriculture and other sectors,” Chilima said.
Chilima, therefore, said government was implementing a Standard, Quality, Accreditation and Metrology (SQAM) project to reduce cost of certification.
He said this was a state-of-the-art laboratory that would validate quality of exports much to the delight of the manufacturing and agro-processing sectors.
Currently, more than 12 companies that attended the 2015 MIF have already registered with the appropriate authorities and some of them are working on the ground and operating.
MITC Chief Executive Officer, Clement Kumbemba, said private sector investment could do well when public institutions were also very responsible.
He said the MITC was one of the beneficiary institutions under the public service reform programme. The One-Stop-Shop was the first in the reforms agenda.
During the forum, seven selected ministries and departments have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU).
They include Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Food Security, Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development and Ministry of Natural Resources and Mining.