President Dr Lazarus McCarthy Chakwera has called upon authorities at the Malawi Bureau of Standards (MBS) to ensure speedy certification processes, stressing that this is key in promoting small and medium enterprises (SMEs).
Chakwera has also called for the modification of the product certification system to suit the needs and conditions of small-scale processors and producer.
Chakwera made the call on Wednesday when he officially opened MBS Complex and the 2023 International Trade Fair in Blantyre.
The President said with the MBS Office Complex now in full operation, he expects the Bureau to be instrumental in challenges SMEs are facing to grow their businesses.
“I expect the complex will help fast-track the information dissemination to SMEs and cooperatives to enable them to involve the Bureau in the early stages of their production for increased success in attaining certification. To put it bluntly, Minister, I want the complaints from the private sector players attending this Trade Fair about the slowness of government in issuing certificates to end, because in this digital age, no certificate should require a business to walk physically into any office and no certificate should take more than a few days to secure,” he said.
Chakwera further stated that he expects that the opening of the complex will strengthen collaboration between the MBS and SMEDI in support of SMEs and making the fees payable by the SMEs favourable.
“Everywhere I go, friends of Malawi who want to help us succeed say that our economy has huge potential, but our problem as a nation is that we take too long to facilitate things for businesses and investors. The world is moving at lightning speed into the future and yet we have too many people in this country still moving in slow motion. I don’t want to hear that this is happening here, and I assure you that I will send people regularly to check. I don’t want businesses that are working hard to be productive, like the ones whose exhibitions I have seen at this year’s Trade Fair, to be slowed down in their ability to put goods on the local and international market because of slowness in certification procedures,” he said.
Chakwera also told MBS that this is the right time when the Bureau needs to rackdown on the use of illegal weighing instruments by vendors on the market to ensure farmers are benefitting from their sweat.