Monday, May 24, 2010

Bingu lambasts business community

By Caroline Kandiero

The State President Bingu wa Mutharika on Saturday blasted the business community for not supporting the development of the Nsanje Inland Port Waterway project.

Mutharika was speaking during the official opening of the 22nd Malawi International Trade Fair (MITF) at the trade fair grounds in Blantyre.

The President wondered whether it was out of ignorance on the part of the business community that they do not want to support the project.

“I am disappointed with the business community in Malawi. Why are you not supporting the Nsanje Port? Whether it is because of ignorance I don’t know,” said Mutharika.

He further said the inland port will not benefit him but the country as a whole through various activities like tourism and trading.

“I want you to establish a big duty free shop at the port which will help generate forex for the country.

“I want you to make noise about the port. It is not for me, it is for you the private sector,” said Mutharika.

Malawi Confederation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry Chief Executive Chancellor Kaferapanjira in an interview said the business community has partly not been supportive.

“Things are moving at a slower pace but as the business community we are now working together with the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure Development,” said Kaferapanjira.

He further said once the feasibility study report is out, the business community will continue to work hand in hand with government.

In a separate interview Mulli Group of Companies Managing Director Leston Mulli said it is the mindset of some individual businessmen that the inland port is a mare dream.

He said the port is possible and that it is important as the private sector to support the initiative.

“What the President said is true. We need to support government not only in the construction of the port but also in other developmental areas,” said Mulli.

He further said the business community can mainly come in through construction of infrastructure services.

“Apart from that as the business community we need to organize ourselves so that every now and then we should be having meetings with government so that we get to know where they (government) are having problems so that we can come in and assist,” said Mulli.

Completion of the Nsanje Inland Port would see reduced transport costs by almost 60 percent and also imports costs-The Daily Times.

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