Malawi University of Business and Applied Sciences (MUBAS) based economist Betchani Tchereni has said the closure of foreigner-owned chain stores could act as an opportunity for enterprising Malawians to open their own factories.
Tchereni was reacting to reports that South African-based chain store, Shoprite, intends to close its shops in Malawi due to scarcity of foreign exchange.
“Rumours that some South African chain store may close shop in Malawi is not disturbing to me, in fact it is just a manifestation of the unsustainable business model it has been running.
“This has been largely expected given the forex situation. They are an unnecessary drainer of forex for commodities we can insist on producing for import substitution in Malawi,” he reacted.
Tchereni challenged authorities at the Ministry of Trade and Industry to mobilize Malawians to venture into manufacturing business.
He said it is high time Malawi started producing the commodities its citizens need and stop relying on importation.
“This is where the Minister of Trade and Industry doesn’t need those suits and neckties, it’s no longer a boardroom matter. It’s for foot soldiering. We must have factories producing those commodities in Malawi.
“That’s a model that will be sustained. I’m sure the producers of those commodities will notice the slump in demand, let them bring their subsidiary factories in Malawi and produce right here. Reporting their profitability in Malawi Kwacha. Apo bi, it is our duty as Malawians to get down to earth and start manufacturing,” he emphasized.
He added, “As long as we continue with the Malawi Kwacha and dependency on subsistence farmers for foreign exchange generation, there won’t be any import business that will be sustained in Malawi. It is time we stopped all cosmetic survival means and pretend no more. Short-termism won’t take us anywhere.”
Meanwhile, National Youth Council of Malawi (NYCOM) senior official Felix Chienda has challenged young people to mobilize themselves to tap from various initiatives and programmes the government has lined up.
Chienda cited the recently launched Agribusiness Deal Room as one of the windows youths can take advantage of to turnaround their social and economic well-being.