REFORMS COMMISSION ENGAGES PARASTATALS BASED IN CENTRAL & NORTHERN REGIONS TO TRACK PROGRESS

Vice President Chilima

Vice President Chilima

As per its tradition of monitoring progress, the Public Service Reforms Commission (PSRC) this week (March 14 – 18) in Lilongwe engaged 23 parastatal organizations based in the Central and Northern Regions to track headway on the implementation of the reforms agenda.
Just like what the Commission observed when it met 19 parastatals based in the Southern Region in Blantyre in January 2016, the overall assessment for the Lilongwe meetings was also satisfactory based on the willingness, dedication and discipline of reporting by the parastatals to implement their respective areas of reform.
It is highly expected that in the next three months parastatals that were in deficit and proving costly to treasury, will become financially independent and start declaring dividends to government as a result of these reforms.For example, Airport Development Limited (ADL) reform area to introduce Car Park Automation at Kamuzu International Airport (KIA) has seen a 150% jump in fees collection. This increased revenue will be used to improve the outlook of the Airport subject to ADL’s Board approval.
Apart from bringing in accountability and curbing corruption, this reform area has also enhanced safety and security on potential loss of personal property such as vehicles.
Another example is the Northern Region Water Board whose reform area to introduce and enhance Leak Detection System has managed to reduce non-revenue water (water lost through distribution network and burst pipes) from 37% to 33%.
This efficiency reform has led to reduced intermittent supply, increase in sales of water to customers, consequently increasing the revenue to the board than ever before. The Commission will share the financial gains in subsequent press statements after reviewing the second quarter.
Under its Resource Mobilisation reforms, Mzuzu University (Mzuni) was commended for establishing a Trust Fund through which resources will be mobilised for the University to offer scholarships to needy and deserving students. In the coming semester, 40 students will benefit thereby complimenting government efforts in ensuring that needy students access tertiary education.
Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (LUANAR) is also on course with its resource mobilisation drive as construction of a filling station, a state-of-the-art Business Centre, construction of modern hostels and revitalization of Bunda Farm are underway to ensure self-sustenance for the institution.
In general, the Commission was impressed that some parastatals have already implemented some of their reform areas, prompting the Commission to declare such achievements to become routine management functions while challenging the organisations to only concentrate on the game changers as well as identify new reform areas.
In the next review which is second quarter, the parastatals will be required to report to the Commission on the tangible achievements and how such successes will positively impact on Malawians. This will be a quantification of the gains realised from the reforms.
Meanwhile, the Commission is urging the parastatals to open up and share information to the media so that the public is kept abreast of what is happening as we continue on our journey to Making Malawi Work.
Release Date: March 20, 2016, Lilongwe.

PRESIDENT MUTHARIKA CHALLENGES MALAWIANS TO BUY LOCALLY MADE PRODUCTS

President Professor Peter Mutharika has asked Malawians to resurrect the spirit of national pride, dignity and self esteem by consuming domestically produced products.
Mutharika made the appeal Thursday in Lilongwe during the launch of the Buy Malawi Strategy which encourages Malawian citizens to support the local industries by buying locally produce goods and services.
The President said for over 52 years, the country has failed to tackle chronic challenges that weakened the productive sector. This, he said has turned the country into a consuming nation with low base of production and export.
“We have undermined our nation confidence, crushed our self esteem and broken our national pride and dignity for too long. We must start to believe in our products and services,” explained Mutharika.
He added, “Who will believe in our products if we the owners cannot believe in them and how can we become an exporting nation if we don’t believe in our products. This is time for us to embrace our locally made goods and services.”
Mutharika then described the Buy Malawi Strategy such a platform through which the country would improve its investment opportunities, change business strategies, create jobs and facilitate increase exportation of goods.
“Through this strategy, we want to stimulate local production, promote the spirit of industrialization, create competitiveness and create more jobs that will in-return create wealth for the country.
“And, through the strategy, we expect to improve our foreign exchange base as importation of goods is expected to drop down,” the President said.
To show seriousness and commitment, the President said the government of Malawi will accelerate public sector reforms as well as business reforms and create a more conducive business environment.
Furthermore, the President said government is intensifying irrigation programmes aimed at increasing productivity since agriculture is the only source of raw materials.
“We are driving in foreign direct investors who will be part of local industry. Besides, we are creating a buy- Malawi convincing and conducive environment by making our laws, policies and energy supply ideal for the purpose,” Mutharika emphasized.
President of Malawi confederation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry, Newton Kambala commended government through the Ministry of Industry and Trade for formulating and launching the strategy through which he said many local companies would be encouraged to work and produce goods and services beyond their capabilities.
Kambala said Malawi as country has the potential and expertise to produce anything that is currently imported from foreign countries, however, the culture of inferiority is what is killing the country.
“When many companies were being privatized we thought there will be change in both production and quality of both goods and services, however this has not been the case. Today, what we need as a country is to promote and domesticate consumption of goods and services,” Kambala explained.
He called upon the government to be the first one to utilize locally made products through its ministries, departments and agencies.
Meanwhile, as a way of setting an example, the President who has also been branded the champion of the Buy Malawi Strategy has directed that all public procuring entities must buy at least 30 percent of goods and services from Malawi base enterprises.
Mutharika has also directed that civil servants and public servants in all government ministries, department agencies and parastatals on Friday should wear clothes produced in Malawi and that the ministry of lands , housing and urban development must prioritize allocation of land to enterprises and investors that intent to manufacture goods and provide services on our land.
resident Professor Peter Mutharika has asked Malawians to resurrect the spirit of national pride, dignity and self esteem by consuming domestically produced products.
Mutharika made the appeal Thursday in Lilongwe during the launch of the Buy Malawi Strategy which encourages Malawian citizens to support the local industries by buying locally produce goods and services.
The President said for over 52 years, the country has failed to tackle chronic challenges that weakened the productive sector. This, he said has turned the country into a consuming nation with low base of production and export.
“We have undermined our nation confidence, crushed our self esteem and broken our national pride and dignity for too long. We must start to believe in our products and services,” explained Mutharika.
He added, “Who will believe in our products if we the owners cannot believe in them and how can we become an exporting nation if we don’t believe in our products. This is time for us to embrace our locally made goods and services.”
Mutharika then described the Buy Malawi Strategy such a platform through which the country would improve its investment opportunities, change business strategies, create jobs and facilitate increase exportation of goods.
“Through this strategy, we want to stimulate local production, promote the spirit of industrialization, create competitiveness and create more jobs that will in-return create wealth for the country.
“And, through the strategy, we expect to improve our foreign exchange base as importation of goods is expected to drop down,” the President said.
To show seriousness and commitment, the President said the government of Malawi will accelerate public sector reforms as well as business reforms and create a more conducive business environment.
Furthermore, the President said government is intensifying irrigation programmes aimed at increasing productivity since agriculture is the only source of raw materials.
“We are driving in foreign direct investors who will be part of local industry. Besides, we are creating a buy- Malawi convincing and conducive environment by making our laws, policies and energy supply ideal for the purpose,” Mutharika emphasized.
President of Malawi confederation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry, Newton Kambala commended government through the Ministry of Industry and Trade for formulating and launching the strategy through which he said many local companies would be encouraged to work and produce goods and services beyond their capabilities.
Kambala said Malawi as country has the potential and expertise to produce anything that is currently imported from foreign countries, however, the culture of inferiority is what is killing the country.
“When many companies were being privatized we thought there will be change in both production and quality of both goods and services, however this has not been the case. Today, what we need as a country is to promote and domesticate consumption of goods and services,” Kambala explained.
He called upon the government to be the first one to utilize locally made products through its ministries, departments and agencies.
Meanwhile, as a way of setting an example, the President who has also been branded the champion of the Buy Malawi Strategy has directed that all public procuring entities must buy at least 30 percent of goods and services from Malawi base enterprises.
Mutharika has also directed that civil servants and public servants in all government ministries, department agencies and parastatals on Friday should wear clothes produced in Malawi and that the ministry of lands , housing and urban development must prioritize allocation of land to enterprises and investors that intent to manufacture goods and provide services on our land.

APM SPEECH AT THE LAUNCH OF BUY MALAWIAN STRATEGY

• The Minister of Industry and Trade, Honourable Joseph Mwanamvekha M.P.;
• All other Cabinet Ministers Present here;
• The Chief Secretary to the Government, Mr. George Mkondiwa;
• The Mayor for the City of Lilongwe Councillor Willie Chapondera;
• Captains of the Industry;
• Members of the Press;
• Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen.

We have dedicated this day to make a sincere promise to our dearest country. This Buy Malawi Strategy is an oath of patriotism, pledged to our country. And we have no other country to be proud of except Malawi. This is a land of opportunities. And those with eyes for opportunities see and find them. With hard work, we will realise the dream Malawi.
And before I proceed, let me thank the UNDP for providing assistance during the development of the strategy and this launch. You have given us a gift that makes us Malawian!
We pledge to buy Malawian because we are proud of our Mother Malawi. We are proud that Malawi can produce fine products and services worthy our pride.
The goods and services we have seen today tell a story: Malawi is set to take her place in the world. And we will succeed – we will conquer whatever it takes. Success is not the absence of problems; but the conquest of the challenges.
Given the progress of our investment programme, Malawi has made important strides towards the long term goal of diversifying our economic base. But we have also suffered economic setbacks. These are setbacks that reflect chronic and structural problems we never seriously tackled for the last fifty-two (52) years. This is the price we pay for having an economy with a weak productive sector. We are suffering the consequences of being a consuming nation that does not aggressively produce and export.
We are importing too much because we are not patriotic enough to promote our own industries and services. Under Buy Malawi Strategy, we are talking about investment. We are talking of change of business strategies.
How long will our businesses be about importing and supplying imported products? By importing, we export valuable jobs; we import inflation; we strain our forex cover; and complain that Kwacha ikugwa! I would therefore like to challenge the private sector to be innovative, to diversify their portfolios, and become aggressive in producing value added products, for both the domestic, and foreign markets. We must produce; and promote what we produce.
Yes, I said diversify and be innovative. Why should the private sector only wait for Government tenders and contracts, instead of producing value added products and engage in import substitution?
Under normal circumstances, Government tenders should only supplement private sector’s business, and not be the core business. Take advantage of the incentives that we have, and produce better and more for the wider local and international market.
We have undermined our national confidence for too long; we have crushed our self-esteem; we have broken our national pride; and crushed our national dignity!
Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen,
Today, we are launching the Buy Malawi Strategy because we are resurrecting the spirit of our national pride, dignity and self-esteem. We are doing this because we want to stimulate local production. We are promoting the spirit of industrialization. We want to create more jobs and create wealth here in Malawi. We want to promote competitiveness and promote quality.
But we must believe in our products and services. We must believe in ourselves. Be patriotic. Who will believe in our products if we, the owners, cannot believe in them? How can we become an exporting nation if we don’t believe in our products?
Today, our national pledge is simple. Buy Malawi! Let us pursue this promise beyond rhetoric. Let us be doers of the word.
As Government, we are accelerating public sector reforms and business reforms to create a more conducive business environment. We are intensifying irrigation programmes to increase productivity because agriculture gives us our raw materials. We are driving in foreign direct investors who will be part of local industry. Besides, we are creating a Buy-Malawi conducive environment by making our laws, policies and energy supply ideal for the purpose.
But, Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, I have some concerns and advice to producers in this country. I am talking about Quality and Pricing.
You will agree with me that in this modern world, it is only innovative and quality products that can compete well in the market.
I would therefore, like to urge our private sector to be producing high quality goods and services, which will be appealing to customers. Malawian consumers deserve quality products too, and Malawian products should offer nothing less.
The second issue is pricing. There have been many times when Malawian producers have over-priced themselves out of the market. Please, be realistic with your pricing; people will not buy your products simply because you are Malawian, but because your products are of high quality, and your prices are reasonable.
Actually, there is a tendency in businesses to exorbitantly raise prices when fuel pump prices go up. But when the pump prices go down, there is deafening silence. You only know how to pass on costs of fuel or exchange rate upswings to consumers. But when the Kwacha gains value, or when pump prices go down, you don’t want to pass on the same to consumers. Why? This has to stop. Overpricing can kill your business.
Ladies and gentlemen,
This is the time to turn Malawi around. Let us fully support our private sector, including the foreign investors coming to be part of our local industry. This is the time to challenge to be innovative in production, packaging and product diversification.
If our Strategy is to succeed, there is no more time to waste. There is no time to wait. We must begin now or never! And this is how we kick off the actual implementation of this Strategy:
1. All public procuring entities will buy at least 30% of their goods and services from Malawi based enterprises. Those that cannot manage because of the nature of their business should give plausible reasons and seek a waiver from the office of the Director of Public Procurement (ODPP).
2. From now onwards, civil servants and public servants in all Government Ministries, Departments, Agencies and Parastatals should, on Fridays, be wearing clothes produced in Malawi.
3. The Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development will prioritise allocation of land to enterprises and investors that intend to manufacture goods and provide services on our land.
4. I declare that 18th March each year, will be a Malawi Day. On this day, Malawians shall wear, eat and use Malawian products. During this day Malawians shall celebrate our uniqueness and send a message to the whole world that we are Malawi.
5. I request all hospitality facilities to set aside at least one day in a week to serve Malawian dishes. Let us be the pride of Malawi. And let me congratulate those that have already started implementing this initiative like Sunbird Tourism Limited.
6. Let me also request all Malawians that we should be the first to patronize our tourism facilities. Let us be proud of our country.
7. I request commercial banks to put much emphasis on lending money to enterprises that produce goods and services locally rather than only emphasizing on enterprises that import finished products for re-sell.
8. Last but not least, the Buy Malawi Strategy Secretariat should ensure that the Monitoring and Evaluation Framework is water tight. I want results!
Let me conclude on a moment of great Honour. I have been requested by the Ministry of Industry and Trade that I be the Champion of the Buy Malawi Strategy. And I cannot refuse this national duty and honour. I accept.
And I now declare the Buy Malawi Strategy officially launched.
Proudly Malawian!
Thank You!

APM TO LAUNCH BUY MALAWIAN INITIATIVE

PRESS RELEASE
For Immediate release

PRESIDENT MUTHARIKA TO PRESIDE OVER LAUNCH OF ‘BUY MALAWI’ INITIATIVE
State House wishes to inform the public that His Excellency Prof. Arthur Peter Mutharika, President of the Republic of Malawi will on Friday, March 18, 2016 preside over the official launch of the Buy Malawi Strategy at the Bingu International Convention Centre (BICC) in Lilongwe.
His Excellency the President is expected to arrive at the BICC at about 10 O’clock in the morning. All invited guests are requested to be seated by 9:30am.

State House Press Office
Kamuzu Palace – Lilongwe
March 17, 2016

TYING ‘BEST BUY MALAWIAN’ CAMPAIGN TO THREE NATIONAL PILLARS

For a long time, the song ‘Best Buy Malawian’ campaign has been a song on everyone’s lips, albeit without immediate results.
However, the campaign is about to take a positive turn following observations that the ‘Best Buy Malawian’ campaign is a dish best served with the soup of Patriotism, Integrity and Hard Work — pillars State President, Professor Arthur Peter Mutharika, has touted as the missing link in Malawi’s development drive.
While the ‘Best Buy Malawian’ campaign has been in full steam in the past 10 years, the issue of the three national pillars advanced by Professor Peter Mutharika is gathering steam despite just being in the limelight for a year, or so.
The President emphasised the importance of adopting the three pillars during the 6 July Independence Day celebrations held at the Kamuzu Stadium in 2015, observing that adherence to the three pillars could help Malawi embrace sustainable development.
“At an appropriate time, we will organise a national conference at which we must draw up a national plan of implementation. We must agree how best we should inculcate these values in every Malawian. I want these values to be collectively owned by all Malawians,” he said.
However, despite a national conference not being held, debate has ensued over the issue, especially on how it can contribute to the realisation of goals set buy ‘Best Buy Malawian’ advocates.
The development comes after the government, through the Ministry of Industry and Trade, has indicated that it plans to turn the ‘Best Buy Malawian’ campaign from a wish to policy statement. It is expected that, once launched, the policy would govern its implementation across all sectors.
Ministry of Industry and Trade spokesperson, Wiskes Mkombezi, told the media on March 11 that the government would ensure that the initative is a success and that having a policy framework would help to guide the implementation of the campaign.
“To the manufacturer or trader, we urge them to continue making quality products for our market. Quality is the way and, as government, we will continue to support them. To the consumers, and buyers, this is the time we should consume Malawian products for the good of the economy,” said Mkombezi.
Meanwhile, Consumers Association of Malawi executive director, John Kapito, has warned that, while a sense of patriotism may help Malawians realise the importance of buying local products, the focus should not only be on consumers.
“What people think, when they hear the word patriotism, is that it applies to consumers— because they are the ones who choose to buy foreign products— and not producers, since some producers are foreign direct investors, but this is a wrong perception. Producers can induce a sense of patriotism in local consumers by manufacturing quality products, products that will not make the consumer fall sick. If a consumer falls sick because they have consumed a compromised product, they will seek medical attention in public health facilities which are supported by tax-payers’ money. That is not patriotism on the part of producers.
“Again, if a consumer buys foreign products when local manufacturers have similar products, with the same quality, that is not patriotism on the part of the consumer because it’s like creating employment in other countries while contributing to the externalization of foreign exchange. Patriotism is a two-way process and, in my view, also applies to foreign direct investors with interests in the country. They are getting business opportunities here and, as they say, ‘you do not bite a finger that feeds you’,” said Kapito.
Kapito added that the ball rested in producers’ hands. He said some consumers have misconceptions that everything foreign is good because some manufacturers have failed to provide services such as ‘after service’ services, or have not assisted consumers satisfactorily, and this has planted the seeds of suspicion in consumers.
He, therefore, urged producers to win back the trust of consumers by building a track-record of integrity. He said producers who produce goods and services of poor quality lose out on integrity.
“To me, the so-called pillar of integrity applies to producers of goods and services and the consumers only make decisions based on the track record, or integrity, of the producer. This principle also applies to the export of goods. If foreign consumers develop trust in Malawian products, you will find that the products will market themselves. We have cases of products such as tea, macadamia nuts, coffee from Malawi winning the hearts of foreign consumers,” said Kapito.
He, however, said the challenge in applying the pillars of Patriotism, Integrity and Hard Work lies in the fact that they [pillars] are not in any national blue print.
Indigenous Business Association of Malawi chairperson, Mike Mlombwa, observed that Hard Work goes hand in hand with integrity, and, if properly understood, the pillar could go a long way in helping Malawians avoid falling into the pit of vices such as corruption.