By Chimwemwe Mangazi:
The Malawi Confederation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (MCCCI) has asked the government to intervene in operations of the private sector if the country is to make strides in boosting exports.
MCCCI Chief Executive Officer, Chancellor Kaferapanjira, said this in Lilongwe on Tuesday on the sidelines of the Annual Export Seminar organised by the Malawi Investment and Trade Centre (MITC).
Kaferapanjira said countries that have well established export bases did so through government involvement in early stages of strategic businesses in technical and financial assistance and equipment.
“Our exports in 2012 were higher than our exports last year, which means that, as a country, we are not making progress. If government is not intervening yet it knows that countries that are succeeding in exporting have government intervention, then we do not have a future.
“A few private companies are able to export. I will give you an example of Illovo. You would recall that Illovo used to be owned by government before so what I am saying is that the private sector needs to be vibrant but, to boost exports, we need that government push,” Kaferapanjira said.
Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism, Ken Ndala, said the country needed to diversify its export basket as one way of cushioning the economy against shocks affecting traditional exports such as tobacco, tea and sugar.
“We need to be competitive so that we can export more and claim a bigger share of regional and international export markets. We need to export more value-added products so that our earnings are maximised through better terms of trade.
“But to achieve all this, we need as many Malawian exporters as possible so that we sustain and grow our exports,” Ndala said.
MITC Chief Executive Officer, Clement Kumbemba, said his organisation would continue to organise events where exporters can share knowledge on how to penetrate export markets.
The seminar was funded by an EIF project titles Support to
Agro-Processing Special Economic Zone Road Map and Promotion of Value Added Export.
“This project has enabled MITC to interact with exporters through business clinics, called for buyer-seller meetings as well as held export seminars,” Kumbemba said.
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