The United Kingdom’s Minister of Trade and Industry Lord Francis Maude has appreciated the progress Malawi has made in reform initiatives especially those that are focusing on creating conducive investment for the private sector.

Her Majesty’s Minister of Trade and Industry was speaking on the sidelines of the Commonwealth Business Forum in Malta when he had an audience with President Peter Mutharika on Wednesday.

Speaking during the meeting, President Mutharika whose government is feeling the pinch of lack of donor support due to the 2013 Cashgate scandal under Peoples Party regime hailed UK for appreciating the efforts he is taking to put the economy back on track and that they should consider resuming budgetary support as a way of helping his economic reforms.

President Mutharika reiterated the key role advanced economies -such as United Kingdom – can play in helping his government to prioritize trade and investment as steady platforms for increasing Malawi’s revenue base.

President Mutharika noted that his attendance at this year’s Commonwealth meeting has opened up a new chapter in strengthening trade relations between Malawi and UK.

This he said in view of the forthcoming investment forum which will further Malawi’s agenda of courting global investors to enhance local trade.
The Malawi leader asked the UK government, through Lord Maude, to help facilitate a smooth transition towards meaningful investment and markets for Malawian products and services.

“The development process has been challenging due to a number of reasons bordering on lack of affordable finance to spur private sector investment, limited access to international markets for our goods and services, and lack of technology for the industrialization process, among others. Although as a country we have a wide range of investment opportunities, we need investors to take up these opportunities, for us to realize our dream of transforming the country from a predominantly importing nation to an exporting country,” said President Mutharika adding that the country has investment opportunities in Agriculture and agro-processing, Energy, Mining, Tourism, Manufacturing, Infrastructure, Information Communication Technology (ICT), and Financial services, to mention a few.

He was quick to point out that his government has embarked on deliberate strategies to ensure a boost in foreign direct investment and increased trade.

“We have already commenced implementing doing business reforms to attract more investment. To streamline investment procedures and processes, I established the One Stop Service Center within the Malawi Investment and Trade Center (MITC) that has brought together key institutions in the investor facilitation process to ensure that permits and other necessary business approvals are granted with speed and most conveniently. I do not want investors to waste their time when setting up business in Malawi,” said he.

Additionally President Mutharika said “To improve the climate for investors, my government in February this year launched the Public Service Reforms Program to right-size the public service and to build systematic checks and controls with the objective of improving public service delivery to the citizens of Malawi and to the private sector. We have so far managed to climb 23 points upward on the World Bank Ease of Doing Business Index, by July this year, 2015”

He also asked Britain to support Malawian small and medium enterprises (SME)s as they are the bedrock of a vibrant private sector.mana

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