President Dr. Lazarus McCarthy Chakwera has challenged small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Malawi to increase productivity in order to complement government efforts to create jobs, wealth and achieve food security.
Speaking after officially opening the Malawi Bureau of Standards (MBS) Office Complex and International Trade Fair in Blantyre on Wednesday, Chakwera said increased productivity is the surest way Malawi can deal with the toll recent cyclones have had on the economy.
“We must focus on productivity because it is what has suffered the most in our economy. When past decisions saddled our country with unsustainable debt, our productivity suffered. When Covid-19 entered our borders and forced us to restrict movement for public safety, our productivity suffered. When Tropical Storms Ana and Gombe fell on us weeks apart from each other and took out a third of our power supply, our productivity suffered.
“When the conflict in Eastern Europe disrupted the supply chain for many commodities and sent global prices of fuel and fertilizer through the roof, our productivity suffered. When drought conditions hit the northern region and Cyclone Freddy made landfall twice and left the southern region in ruins, our productivity suffered,” said the President.
He said this is why his administration has given top priority to increase productivity through the promotion of commercialization, industrialization and urbanization so that Malawi can achieve job creation, wealth creation, and food security.
Chakwera added that it is this pursuit of increased productivity that he addressed a global forum of international investors within the first sixty days of being in office, and made an effort to restore our broken relationship with neighboring countries that are Malawi’s first trading partners.
“The pursuit of increased productivity is the reason I go far and wide to negotiate trade and investment deals and secure new markets. The pursuit of increased productivity is the reason I directed that an SME order be gazetted in the early months of my administration to create business growth opportunities for local enterprises,” he said.
Chakwera has since challenged MBS to ensure it expedites processing of certificates to enable SMEs to grow their businesses and increase productivity.