More than 140 companies have registered to be part of the private sector labs, an initiative by President Dr. Lazarus McCarthy Chakwera, aimed at t providing an opportunity to both local and foreign investors to engage with the government on how the two can jointly work together in addressing challenges affecting private sector growth in the country.
Last month, Chakwera directed the Presidential Delivery Unit to hold the first-ever Private Sector Labs this month in an effort to boost private sector engagement in trade.
The President directed that this be done in partnership with the Malawi Investment and Trade Center and the Ministry of Trade.
In an interview with local media, Director at PDU Hendrina Givah said they have gotten massive support from both local and foreign companies.
“I can confirm that over 140 local and foreign companies have registered for the first ever Private Sector Labs. These companies are into agro-processing, food processing and manufacturing, industrial manufacturing, financial service providers and energy,” said Givah as quoted by local media.
Following the close of the expression of interest period, PDU is now engaging the government on the problems mentioned by the private sector participants to explore how the two parties can best come up with solutions to the challenges raised, according to Givah.
“From the private sector players, the major issues that are emerging relate to taxation, access to finance, land ownership, Energy supply as well as lack of clarity on the export procedures as it seems most players are not aware of the procedures involve,” said Givah.
In preparation for the launch of the first-ever Private Sector Labs Chakwera on Tuesday met several of his Cabinet ministers and other government agencies, which are relevant stakeholders to the success of the initiative.
Ministers of Finance Sosten Gwengwe, Agriculture Lobin Lowe, Transport and Public Works Jacob Hara, Justice Titus Mvalo, Trade and Industry Mark Katsonga Phiri, Energy Ibrahim Matola, Lands Sam Kawale, newly appointed Secretary to President and Cabinet Colleen Zamba, who was previously the head of the PDU, Reserve Bank Governor Wilson Banda, MERA Chief Executive Officer Henry Kachaje, and ESCOM Chief Executive Officer Henry Kachaje were among those present.
Meanwhile, Givah has stated that President Dr Chakwera’s Tuesday meeting with cabinet ministers and heads of government agencies reflects the President’s sincere commitment to ensuring the success of the Private Sector Labs.
“Tuesday’s meeting demonstrates a spirit of willingness and excitement to come and meet to engage, dialogue and find solutions together so that the mood is sustained before the launch,” she said.
President Dr Chakwera is expected to launch the first Private Sector Labs on June 21.