Malawi President Peter Mutharika this Wednesday, emphasized the importance of small and medium entrepreneurs (SMEs), because they contribute significantly in the country’s economic growth and development.
The President was speaking at Mzuzu State Lodge during an audience with representatives of Mzuzu City vendors.
He said Government values the contribution small and medium businesses make to the national economy, hence his decision to interact with the vendors in Blantyre, Zomba, Lilongwe, Kasungu and Mzuzu.
The President assured the vendors that they are extremely important people, and that no country can survive without small and medium entrepreneurs.
He then assured them that Government will improve market structures so that they are resilient to fires, which have been rampant in the recent years.
“I am talking to the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development to improve the markets and build modern ones so that they are free from fire,” he said.
He also disclosed that Government is working with organizations in the United States and Europe, to provide loans to small and medium scale businesses to boost them.
The President also said Government has embarked on a project to develop 70 trading centers in Chitipa, Karonga, Nkhata Bay, Rumphi and Mzimba.
On national development, the Malawi leader reiterated his resolve to construct Mombera University in Mzimba, a New Airport in Mzuzu and continue rehabilitating various roads in the region among other developments.
He also disclosed that Government will expand Mzuzu University to add more programs.
In his remarks, secretary for vendors in Mzuzu City, Scrivina Dzonzi, asked the President to intervene in illegal vending, which is rampant in the city.
He said a lot of vendors ply their trade in undesignated places outside the market, where they do not pay market fees and also make the city untidy.
Dzonzi appreciated the role Mzuzu City Council plays in trying to curb the situation, but lamented that the Council faces challenges due to limited resources.
“We are asking you, our President, to help the City Council with resources, like vehicles to contain illegal vending, which is rampant in the e,” he said.
Dzonzi also asked Government to consider providing vendors with soft loans, saying it is very difficult for them to access loans from banks, who ask for collateral.
He pleaded with Government to reduce customs and excise tariffs that small and medium business persons pay at the border. He said the tariffs are too high, such that they do not make much profit after selling their commodities.