SMEs upbeat on improved buss

Analyst punches holes in indiginisation law

Post was last updated: September 7, 2020

HAJAT—It is discriminatory and unconstitutional

One of the country’s human rights activists, Rafik Hajat, has faulted the proposed amendment to the Public Procurement and Disposal of Assets Regulations which seek to give 60 percent of government business to black indigenous Malawians as one way of empowering locals.

In a letter to the Public Procurement and Disposal of Assets (PPDA) Authority dated September 3, Hajat has described Section 44(10) of the PPDA and the proposed regulations as distinctly discriminatory and unconstitutional.

Hajat says Section 44(10) and the draft regulations aim to accord preference to black indigenous Malawians over what appear to be other categories of Malawian citizens and foreign nationals whereas the constitution of the Republic of Malawi does not create, recognise or permit different categories of Malawian citizens.

“The PPDA and regulations are seeking to endow preference over other equally placed Malawian citizens based on nationality, race and ethnicity. This blatant intent to infuse preference predicated upon colour and ethnicity is in direct contrast to provisions of the Constitution of the Republic of Malawi,” Hajat said.

On its part, the Maravi Asian Development Association (Mada) has said the provisions of the PPDA, the regulations and the pract ices of the Authority in relation to Malawi firms discriminate against Malawi firms who do not have black Malawian ownership and control even though all their partners or shareholders are Malawi nationals.

“We repeat that the introduction of the category of black indigenous Malawian is unconstitutional and has the effect, whether intended or not, of creating a sub-category of Malawian citizen of all those are not black or of African descent.

“Citizenship may not be arbitrarily denied under our Constitution and the creation of categories has the effect of doing so. This position is simply unacceptable and has no support or basis under our Constitution,” reads a statement from Mada signed by Chairperson Akif Jakhura and Vice Chairperson, Karan Savjani.

Recently, PPDA invited comments and suggestions from various stakeholders on the proposed legislation.

But Indigenous Businesses Association of Malawi (Ibam) President Mike Mlombwa said the proposed legislation would help empower black indigenous Malawians who have for long languished in poverty.

Speaking during a Consultative meeting on the legislation in Lilongwe recently, Trade Minister, Sosten Gwengwe, said government intends to gazette the Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets Administration of Preferential Treatment Regulations 2020 and Disposal of Public and Disposal of Public Assets order.

He said time had come for black indigenous Malawians, women and youth in particular to meaningfully participate in government procurement processes.

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