By Ebenezer

The Vice President of the Republic of Malawi, Dr Saulos Klaus Chilima, had this to say..

Today I have started the week engaging parastatals in the trade and social sectors to follow up progress on reforms that they are implementing, challenges being encountered, areas for new reforms as well as to discuss any support they might require from government in the course of implementation.

The first meeting at 8 am was with the management team of the Small and Medium Development Institute (SMEDI), an institution whose mandates include enhancing access to finance for Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) as well as creating an enabling environment for them to thrive as businesses.

Accompanied by their line Minister, Hon. Roy Kachale-Banda, the presentation by SMEDI was clear as it provided insights of the organisation as well as the efforts they are making in implementing various reforms, most of them focusing on making the institution achieve financial sustainability.

I challenged the management team that an institution like SMEDI, should not be subvented by the government but be financially self-reliant so that we free Treasury and channel the resources to other pressing sectors of the economy.

To this effect, I have liked most of the reforms that they are implementing and lined up which are business oriented and if properly monitored the organisation could indeed be off government subvention in future.

Meanwhile, we have given SMEDI a task. We want them to make a case and demonstrate to government if they can manage to disburse loans to MSMEs across the country in an efficient, professional and apolitical manner. They must demonstrate that they can screen properly, disburse in time, measure impact and more importantly handle repayment.

Depending on the satisfactory of their concept, then as Reforms and the Ministry of Industry – we will take up the matter with Treasury and other relevant stakeholders so that a portion for MSMEs from the K75 billion revolving loan which – the administration of His Excellency Dr. Lazarus Chakwera, President of the Republic – has announced could be exclusively disbursed through SMEDI.

As a service oriented parastatal which has the data base of MSMEs across the country and with vast experience in the business of MSMEs, we are hopeful they are suitable for the task. We expect their proposal this week and decisions will be made depending on what they submit.

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