South Africa based Malawian businessman, Simbi Phiri, has unveiled plans to invest over $15 million to set up a cigarette manufacturing plant. The plant is to become operational by 2018.
Construction of the factory is among key investment drives his South African based consortium, Khato Civils intends to establish as part of its strategy to broaden its foot print into Malawi.
Other sectors targeted include tourism and hospitality as well as construction and civil engineering where funds have already been allocated with other project sites already identified.
Briefing journalists who are on a tour of some of Khato’s projects in Johannesburg, South Africa, Phiri said he plans to invest in several potential sectors of the economy within the coming few years.
He said for instance, a study is underway to establish the viability of setting up a cigarette factory in Mchinji and results are expected in the next six months.
Building and construction materials for the factory alone are estimated at around $7 million.
He said he targets 2018 to complete the construction of the factory and start producing cigarettes for the local and international markets.
“We have been in touch with experts in Cuba over the viability of producing cigars in Malawi which if proven viable will see the country selling cigars to Congo, Angola, Mozambique, South Africa and other countries in Africa and beyond in a few years’ time,” he said.
While expounding on potential investment opportunities in the economy, Phiri however, lamented over what he rated as prevalent investment bottlenecks which he said have had huge repercussions on attracting investment.
He ci ted, for instance, bureaucracy and delays in completing paper work as barriers to investment.
“There are many opportunities in Malawi but the problem is regulatory bottlenecks. I will invest any amount in Malawi if I have the authorities’ approval,” he said.
The business also plans to construct twin towers at the Lilongwe City Centre with the initial cost pegged at R300 million.
The consortium is already operating in South Africa and Botswana with some of its projects to be implemented in over five countries within the continent.
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