The Minister of Health, Hon Jappie Mhango in a delegation of 4 other Ministers namely, Hon Vuwa Kaunda, Hon Ralph Jooma, Hon Mungasulwa Mwambande and Hon Mark Botomani had a rude weakening as the meeting the conducted with the Business Operators in Karonga at Manguzi Lodge to ask Business Operators to reconsider allowing government to put back roadblocks that were removed did not bear any fruits.
Despite several promises that the Karonga-Songwe Road will be the best in Malawi in the next 3 years and that the Government considers that New Company that will take over Paladin will have its headquarters in Mzuzu, opening of road traffic and Mining office in Karonga among others, the business community stood their ground.
In a letter signed by a Chairperson, of a Coalition of Business Associations, the Karonga Business Community, Mr Wavisanga Silungwe, addressed to Hon Jappie Mhango, the Karonga Business Community demands that through Ministers of Finance and Trade respectively, Government must enter into an agreement with the Government of Tanzania so that all goods made in Tanzania, MRA must remove duty, reduce excise by 80% and leave surtax within a cushion import base of $5000 as a precondition before they can discuss anything on roadblock which for now they have refused, this means Government will only have Songwe, Kiwe,and Chilumba Roadblocks for now.
According to Silungwe this is a litmus to boost local economic development, he further cited that there is already the same arrangement with Zambia so he saw no reasons why Government should dilly-darry on this. He added that SADC and COMESA Trade Protocols were good for Large Scale Businesses. He also categorically demanded that the Head Office of the Uranium Mining company to be in Karonga was non-negotiable and a noble sense or else they would-be new investor should forget about Kayelekera Uranium Mine.
Commenting on this,Mrs Twesa Mhango, a Crossborder trader at Mzuzu Taifa Market hailed the Karonga Business Community for their stance saying it has come at aright time because businesses are shrinking and if Government quickly acts it will help boost many Malawian Small Scale Businesses not only in the Northern Region but the whole Malawi.
The Minister retaliated that he will continue engaging the Karonga Business Community and that in the next 2 months they will hold a similar meeting in Karonga.
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