Small and Medium Entrepreneurs have called upon COMESA secretariat to intervene in the lobby for African countries including Malawi to create conducive environment for SME.
This was agreed at a meeting that COMESA business council organized for SMEs operating in the bloc.
Malawi’s representative at a meeting that was held last month in DRC Charles Merrick learnt that SMEs in all 19 member states operate under hostile environment–and through COMESA business council, African leaders were petitioned to make proper adjustments.
Malawi is believed to have the highest interest and inflation rates in the region currently at 38% and 25% respectively –a situation which tends to bar small scale businesses from borrowing.
“Apart from individual member states, we petitioned African leaders through COMESA business council to establish a regional business development bank where small scale traders will easily access business loans.
“At the local level, we find it even tougher to operate because of the deteriorating business environment –well branded by almost the highest interest rates.” Merrick added.
Merrick said it was interesting to note that all SMEs in the region are experiencing quite similar challenges especially when it comes to business finance.
On the part of Malawi, Merrick said there is a need for government to increase the funding to SMEs department in the ministry of Industry and Trade, and to establish a special bank for small scale enterprises.
Some believe that government disregards the SME sub division in the ministry of Industry and Trade.