The Buy Malawi Strategy (BMS), an initiative that encourages the citizenry to procure local services and products, has the potential to boost the manufacturing industry and, on a larger scale, the country’s economy.
Apart from that, labour experts and captains of industry believe that the strategy has the potential to create jobs, which most Malawians are desperately in need of.
A Labour Force Survey conducted by the National Statistical Office (NSO) pegs the formal unemployment rate in Malawi at 21 percent. To improve the situation, the Ministry of Labour and Man Power Development is introducing technical and vocational colleges across the country to empower youths with vocational skills so they can be self-employed.
Meanwhile, labour and social development campaigner Robert Mkezalamba sees the Buy Malawi Strategy as another gigantic step in scaling up jobs in the country.
Mkwezalamba, the former general secretary of the Malawi Congress of Trade Union (MCTU), an umbrella body of over 15 local labour movements, says Malawi’s liberalised market has over the years seen most local companies facing stiff competition from international companies who have forced a number of industries closing and creating job losses.
“The Buy Malawi Strategy provides political will and space for local products to be enhanced and the ability of Malawians to consume local products. It also creates an opportunity for job creation as demand for the locally made products increases,” he says.
Bruno Silas, Managing Director of BS Consult, a Blantyre based marketing firm challenges Malawians to produce quality and affordable products.
Agreeing, a representative of the Asian Business Community in Lilongwe city, Razaq Kassam says the local manufacturing sector has the potential to produce quality products if it is gets more local purchases.
“The Buy Malawi Strategy, if well implemented, has the potential spur growth,” he says adding that he does not see the sense in importing tomatoes, onions and other agricultural products from neighbouring countries.
The Ministries of Trade and Industry, architects of the BMS hopes that the initiative “will substantially enhance competitiveness of local firms through stimulation of local production and growth.”