Despite hosting this year’s Southern African Development Community (Sadc) 2012 quality awards ceremony on Wednesday night, Malawi did not receive any of the awards as no single entry was made for the accolades.

South African and Zimbabwean companies scooped three awards and one respectively and Lesotho was the only other country that participated.

The awards were divided into four categories: company of the year, product of the year, service of the year and service of the year, small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

“You can see that the countries that scooped the awards are well industrialised than us. It’s about the level of industrialisation but we need to participate and I hope next time Malawian companies will participate,” said Minister of Tourism Wildlife and Culture Daniel Liwimbi who graced the occasion.

According to Senior Programme Officer for Sadc, Elsie Meintjies, seven countries expressed verbal interest but only three submitted the entries.

She said it was expected that there will be a lot of entries next year as the awards are a year old with only South African companies participating in the inaugural ceremony.

“This is a great improvement considering that we only had one country in the inaugural year and having three this year is a positive thing,” Meintjies said.

Malawi Bureau of Standards (MBS) Director General Davlin Chokazinga refused to comment on the matter saying his organisation only does quality auditing and is not involved in such issues.

Malawi Confederation of Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Matthews Chikankheni also distanced the chamber from the issue indicating lack of knowledge about the annual awards.

Representative of the judges, Maureen Mutasa urged countries to encourage member countries to encourage companies to participate.

“We must emphasise that the aim of the competition is to raise SQAM (Standard, Quality Assurance, Accreditation and Metrology) awareness at enterprise level and therefore the regional competition must be anchored on credible national level competition.

The award ceremony was part of this year’s SQAM meetings the country is hosting where issues of standardization, quality and accreditation are among others discussed by bureaux of standards from Sadc countries.

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