LILONGWE-(MaraviPost) –Malawi is one of the Common Market for Eastern and South Africa (COMESA) countries losing billions of dollars for low exportation of raw products from skins and hides to international markets, the Maravi Post has learnt.
Lack of sound institutional structures and legal framework are said to be the contributing factors for Malawi’s failure to reap billions of dollars from international markets’ leather products. World leather products account for US$130 trillion which Africa only gets 4 percent of raw materials export.
In an exclusive interview with Felix Jumbe, COMESA’s Alliance for Common Trade in Eastern and Southern African (ACTESA) Board Chairperson upon arrival from Ethiopia on Leather and Leather Products conference, disclosed that Malawi was losing billions of dollars in revenue collection through export.
Jumbe who is also a Member of Parliament (MP) for Salima Central observed that livestock’s hides and skins are being underused and wasted in the country while the world market is in dire need of them.
The ACTESA board chairperson Jumbe said it was high time Malawi capitalized on the already made leather market by rejuvenating its leather products sector. He added that the nation has the potential to export leather products considering the numbers of livestock and animals it has.
“Most African countries including the 20 member COMESA are losing out a lot of dollars in raw materials export on leather. And Malawi is the worst performing country as it has no organized structures for this sector. We don’t have a good legal frame work to facilitate leather trading as the nation still uses an old 1966 Act on leather product which needs to be reviewed, “said Jumbe.
He added: “Malawi has the potential for the leather sector considering the millions of cows, goats and wildlife animals on our land. We just need to get organized by formulating national council and associations on leather trade.”
“After 52 years of independence Malawi is still struggling with the export market. Leather markets are already made for us. If we continue exporting raw materials nothing will work for us. Just image processed skin or hide of a square metre fetches US$ 5 while unprocessed ones are at MK300 for the same quantity. This is how Malawi is losing out. We need to do something to boost our export revenue collection”, said Jumbe.
The lawmaker plans to engage ministries of Agricultures and Trade on how best the leather sector can put its operations in order in the country with possibility of having a processing plants for hides and skins products.