Local business captains have singled out Tropical Cyclone Freddy (TCF) as the biggest setback that affected business activities to thrive in the first quarter of 2023.
Assessing the just-ended first quarter of the year, President of the Indigenous Business Association of Malawi (IBAM), Mike Mlombwa said this year, business started on a higher note but ended on a lower note in the first quarter due to TFC.
However, Mlombwa said the second quarter of the year looks promising owing to the starting of the agricultural marketing season.
“The first quarter of the year has affected all things that started on a positive note, with the coming in of Tropical Cyclone Freddy, business activities were greatly affected, a lot of markets were affected and also people stopped doing their business due to the heavy rains that the country experienced.
“From past experience, the business usually picks up after Easter Holiday, now things look brighter as we have seen people selling their agricultural produce,” he said.
Mlombwa, therefore, commended government for buying a lot of products from local people which is helping the locals to recover and boost Malawian businesses.
“We have seen that government is very serious on issues of promoting Malawian businesses, I’m calling on business owners in the country to take the opportunity seriously and be honest, with that, we will build the trust between the locals and government,” he added.
In a separate interview, National Chairperson of the National Association of Small and Medium Enterprises, William Mwale said that businesses did not make enough sales compared to the same period in 2022 because buyers were putting money in other ventures such as fertilizers and school fees for their wards.
“Demand has been low for most products during the period, which has created a lot of competition among sellers. Some of the few that thrived were because of carry-over orders from last year.
“We are expecting to see business booming and Malawi making steady progress on international trade by exporting the legumes and we have seen banks giving out soft loans which is a sign that business will be well this time around,” he said.
Tropical Cyclone Freddy hit Malawi in March this year and disturbed several business activities and washed away 15,000 hectares of crop fields in five districts of Chiradzulu, Blantyre, Phalombe, Mulanje and Mangochi.