BY BLAIR MHONE
Government through the Ministry of Trade and Industry has called on Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) to work with Malawi Bureau of Standards (MBS) to produce export quality and competitive products.
Minister responsible Mark Katsonga Phiri made the call when he opened a training for the MSMEs on quality and standardisation in Mzuzu City.
According to the minister, MSMEs need to produce high quality goods and be tapping into trade agreements being undertaken by government like the African Continental Free Trade Area.
“MSMEs need to take MBS Standardisation seriously, because our leaders are currently opening up Africa and this is a very big opportunity for Malawi.
“This gives us an opportunity to improve our productivity and our standards on produced goods that go straight into the international market,” he said.
On his part, MBS Director General Simon Mandala said certification has always been perceived as expensive and rigorous by MSMEs and the training which is free is meant to give them a chance to have knowledge of standards that are accepted locally and internationally.
He said; “These training sessions are going to assist the MSMEs to achieve certification in the long run, which would allow their products to be accepted on both the local and international markets.
“As MBS we have also reduced the initial certification fees and cost of buying Malawi Standards by half for the MSMEs which is meant to help them get relevant certification.”
The trainings are being organised under a Memorandum of Understanding with with Small and Medium Enterprises Institute (SMEDI) and its Chief Executive Officer Rodrick Chatayika said the trainings are helping to capacitate the MSMEs for them to be able to penetrate even super markets while also creating employment for others.
“MSMEs account for a greater proportion of businesses in the country, they are important to the creation of jobs and contribute to the growth of national economy but most MSMEs fail to enter the formal market because they do not meet the minimum requirements on mandatory Malawi Standards,” said Chatayika.
One of the participants at the training who owns a rice producing company, Lusekero Mwenenyanya said the training is timely to the MSMEs especially on issues to do with certification.
“I think this training will see many MSMEs in the future grow and eventually also enter the international market,” he said.