President Peter Mutharika on Monday officially opened the Gateway Shopping Mall complex in Lilongwe with a call for the private sector to put more effort in the manufacturing sector so that the dream of turning Malawi from an importing and consuming economy to a producing and exporting one is realized.

In his address, President Mutharika hailed the Malawi Property Investment Company (MPICO), Old Mutual and other investors for mooting and implementing a great idea of a modern and immaculate shopping complex.

“I am impressed with what I have seen inside the Gateway Mall…This is an indication of serious investment and commitment that the management of the company has for the betterment of this nation. This structure has been built to international standards and these are the kind of investments that businesses must undertake.

“My government will do everything possible to support such investments because we are all aware that this type of investment goes a long way towards improving economic and social development of the country” said Mutharika.

He urged super markets in the new complex to ensure space for local products including agricultural products with the aim of empowering local small scale businesses and farmers.

The President also bemoaned the country’s continued extravagance in importing various goods such as tooth picks, when such products can be locally produced for both local and foreign consumption.

He challenged the business community to come up with various product innovations and product value addition projects that will see Malawi generating the much needed foreign currency.

“Let me take this opportunity to remind the business community that a producing a exporting economy is more sustainable than an importing and consuming one. I therefore wish to encourage the business captains present here today, to put serious thoughts and efforts on product innovation and diversification in order for the country to produce and export high quality and competitive products thereby generating the much needed foreign currency,” he said.

The President further urged both local and foreign investors to take advantage and invest in the bankable projects which have been outlined in the recently launched Compendium of bankable projects in the country.

“I wish to emphasize the point that the role of government is not to be engaged in business operation, rather to create a conducive environment for private sector to operate with minimum hassles. In this regard my government is taking all efforts aimed at enhancing private sector development in the country,” said Mutharika.

The new Shopping complex has seen the economy creating up to 600 direct jobs with the projections saying that up to 1, 500 direct jobs will be created when the complex is fully operational.

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