Local cigarette manufacturer Nyasa Manufacturing Company has confirmed that it is in discussion with government for a possible Public Private Partnership (PPP) in the manufacturing of cigarettes.
During the state of the nation address in May, President Joyce Banda announced that government will soon enter into partnership with Nyasa Manufacturing.
In an interview last week, Nyasa Manufacturing Managing Director Konrad Buckle said several meetings have already taken place with government officials, especially the Malawi Investment Trade Centre, on the proposed venture.
“We have very big plans with this partnership as we are looking at value addition. We would like to open a plant that will be able to blend and make cigarettes and a filter manufacturing plant.
“The good thing is that our raw material will be the locally produced tobacco,” said Buckle.
He said within the region, there is potential business to export filters.
Buckle said that the company is ready to open up markets in 10 countries within the region for cigarette and filter exports.
He expects working capital for the venture to come from the Export Development Fund and that government is facilitating a grant for machinery from the Indian government.
MITC Interim Chief Executive Officer, Clement Kumbemba, also confirmed that the issue is indeed under discussion and that all stakeholders involved are doing their part.
He could, however, not be drawn into mentioning specifics before the partnership is established.
“These kind of partnerships go through a lot of procedures and departments. But what I can say is that all the departments are doing their job,” said Kumbemba.
Minister of Trade Sosten Gwengwe also said it is too early at the moment to point at anything.
“There is nothing concrete yet. However, value addition remains the government’s priority. Apart from Nyasa, we are looking for more players to venture into value addition” said Gwengwe. – By Caroline Kandiero