Wednesday, December 7

Chakwera launches private sector labs, calls for greater collaboration

President Lazarus Chakwera has stressed the need for a vibrant private sector if the country is to achieve meaningful economic development.

Chakwera was speaking when he officially launched the first ever Private Sector Labs under the Presidential Delivery Unit which the President is championing.

He observed that no country’s economy can develop with over reliance on handouts.

“Our economy has been sick in many was for a long time and we have failed to administer the right cure to our sickness. The sicknesses have remained among us despite administering several doses of painkillers. Time has now come to abandon those painkillers and embrace real cure to our sicknesses,” said Chakwera

The Malawi leader further said there is need to start finding solutions to high levels of unemployment among the youths, worsening poverty levels among rural households, stagnation of income levels for workers, gross imbalance between imports and exports as well as over reliance on one cash crop.

Chakwera challenged delegates that graced the launch to start asking themselves; what is it that the country must do for the economy to be able to expand, employ as well as export.

President Chakwera said the solution to the current challenges suffocating growth of the country’s private sector is the operating environment hence the need for urgent action to make the country’s operating environment conducive for both local and foreign investors.

“Let’s make the environment conducive so that we can be able to attract both local and foreign investors. Time for public officers to be receiving kickbacks to award contracts to some few investors is over. And to you private sector players bury your differences and let’s focus on building the country’s economy. We don’t need situations where players refuse to enter into joint ventures for selfish reasons,” he said.

Speaking earlier Vice President, Saulos Chilima, said time has come for the country to start putting into practice various policies that have been formulated.

“We have had enough of planning meetings. Enough of recommendations and we continue to suffer from the same analysis paralysis syndrome I believe time to act is now,” said Chilima.

In his address, United Nations Development Program (UNDP) Representative, Shigeki Komatsubara, pledged his organization’s commitment towards the successful running of the private sector labs.

Komatsubara said he believes the private sector labs will help eliminate barriers to investment in Malawi.

Meanwhile President of the Malawi Confederation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (MCCCI),  Lekani Katandula, has expressed his excitement at the launch of the first ever Private Sector Labs describing them as the real game changer.

“These are not just talk shows. These labs will provide a platform for us players in the private sector to engage with government on how best we can overcome challenges that are suffocating our growth.

“We have a case in mind of Shayona Cement manufacturing company that is failing to start operating its Manufacturing equipment just because ESCOM is failing to upgrade its power line that connects to the factory and yet the country is importing cement almost daily when if this new machine was operational Shayona could have been manufacturing cement locally to meet the ever growing demands so we believe the labs will help address such issues,” said Katandula.

Earlier, Secretary to the President and Cabinet, Colleen Zamba, told delegates that 50 large scale companies have been selected for the first phase of the private sector labs.

Over 160 companies from various sectors had applied to be part of the first ever private sector labs that will run from Monday to Friday next week.

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