Sep 24, 2017 Last Updated 10:33 AM, Sep 22, 2017

The United States Government has announced its decision to increase Malawi’s Tariff Rate Quota for sugar exports.

According to the US Ambassador to Malawi Virginia Palmer, the US has made the decision in a bid to assist Malawi in increasing its exports.

She adds that the US remains committed to increasing trade between the two countries.

The development means that local sugar producers Illovo Sugar Malawi Limited, is expected to work on increasing production to meet the increased demand.

“Malawi exported $10.7 million worth of sugar to the United States in 2016, an increase of 25% from 2015. 

This quota increase for fiscal year 2017 could mean an additional $4 million worth of Malawian sugar exports to the United States. 

The United States remains committed to increasing trade between the United States and Malawi,” said Ambassador Palmer.

Currently the country’s sugar export quota stands at 10.5 thousand Metric Ton Raw Value (MTRV) which has been increased with an extra 4 MTRV.

Malawi exports sugar to several countries in the EU, the US and within the African region.

Responding to the development, Illovo Malawi Board Chairperson Gavin Dalgleish expressed pleasure with the news, adding that they are ready to supply to the US.

In the year 2016, the country exported sugar worth $10.7 Million.

Sugar is Malawi’s third largest export to the United States, following tobacco and tea.  Other significant exports include coffee, macadamia nuts, and apparel. 

Since 2013, sugar exports from Malawi to the United States have more than tripled, accounting for 14% of Malawi’s total exports to the United States.

Malawi exported $75.6 million worth of goods to the United States in 2016, while it imported $46.6 million from the United States.

The World Bank has not released the $80 Million support which it approved for the Malawi Government, the Reserve Bank of Malawi confirms.

The Breton Wood organisation approved the amount as budgetary support to Malawi almost two years after direct budgetary support was suspended.

During the presentation of the 2017/2018 National Budget, the Finance Minister Goodall Gondwe hinted that the funds would go towards the settlement of government arrears.

Almost two months into the new budget, there have been questions on whether the Government has started making payments for the various arrears it has with the private sector and various sectors in the civil service.

Commenting on the monetary status of the country, the Reserve Bank Governor, Dalitso Kabambe, indicates that they have not started stocking the National Forex Reserves with the World Bank funds.

The World Bank is an international financial institution that provides loans to countries of the world for capital programmes.

It comprises two institutions: the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), and the International Development Association (IDA). The World Bank is a component of the World Bank Group. 

The World Bank's stated official goal is the reduction of poverty.

However, according to its Articles of Agreement, all its decisions must be guided by a commitment to the promotion of foreign investment and international trade and to the facilitation of capital investment. 

Mobile phone service providers in Malawi are facing pressure from the public to quickly fix their erratic networks and improve service delivery for clients.

Customers continue to be subjected to poor network service, despite paying high charges for calls and data.

The Consumers Association of Malawi (CAMA) has since written a letter to the Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority, questioning its silence and in-action, at a time when consumers are being abused by mobile telecommunication service providers.

According to CAMA Executive Director John Kapito, it is surprising that consumers continue to pay for high charges and be subjected to poor networks.

Kapito feels that the regulator, MACRA, has decided to abandon its legal mandate as stipulated in the Communications Act.

When contacted by Capital FM on the issue calls to MACRA went unanswered, however in a previous interview the Regulator did acknowledge that it has taken note of the concerns raised by customers on high data tariffs.

Those that spoke to this reporter on the streets in the commercial capital expressed dissatisfaction and concern over how they are being treated by service providers.

“Their services are so poor that at times it is difficult to decide which network to use for your phone because they all do not give to customers what they promise,” lamented one Blantyre based taxi driver.

 

In an earlier interview, Emmanuel Kasambala who is Airtel Malawi’s Marketing Director, told Capital FM that their network is currently being upgraded and will improve by the end of August.

According to statistics data tariffs in Malawi are the highest when compared to those of other countries in southern Africa.

Farmers are being encouraged to follow proper methods of growing Tobacco, in a bid to produce quality leaf and realise significant earnings.

The Tobacco industry is facing numerous challenges on the international market, due to the Anti Smoking Lobby championed by the World Health Organisation-WHO.

This has led to a decline in prices as well as markets for the crop, which is Malawi’s major foreign exchange earner.

In the 2016/2017 growing season, the country reduced its quantity of Tobacco production compared to the previous years, but managed to generate over 144 Billion Kwacha.

Speaking to Capital FM, the Tobacco Control Commission-TCC Acting Chief Executive Officer, David Luka points out that despite low production, the quality of the leaf improved this year.

Luka said this is mainly due to the fact that farmers are now using certified seeds, and they are properly monitored and inspected, so they are told what to ensure that their crop if of good quality.

Tobacco is Malawi’s cash crop which helps in bringing in forex the country needs to drive the economy.

This is despite critics suggesting that the country find alternative crops to generate forex from as many countries have enforced laws banning smoking.

The markets which opened in April and closed last month managed to generate $199 Million this year, after $276 Million and $337 million earnings in 2016 and 2015 respectively.

One of the country’s high street banks, National Bank of Malawi, is boasting of a MK14.4 Billion pre-tax profit in the first half of the year.

In an unaudited financial statement for the first six months of 2017, the company reveals it has made the said profit which is an improvement to what was made during the same period in 2016.

During the first half of 2016 the bank post an MK11.8 Billion profit before tax, representing a 22 percent growth in its profits.

According to the company’s Chief Executive Officer Mcfussy Kawawa the performance is due to an improved operating environment for business in the year.

Much as this is good news to the shareholders of the company, the public is still complaining that banks continue to make superficial profits while the general populous is challenged by the struggling economy.

Kawawa is optimistic that the bank’s performance will improve further, owing to changes in the national economic landscape.

Meanwhile the bank’s performance is also leaving positive results on the stock exchange, with a share price gain having been registered in the just ended week.

National Bank of Malawi is a commercial bank. The bank is one of the eleven banks licensed by the Reserve Bank of Malawi, the national banking regulator.

NBM is a large financial services institution, serving the banking needs of the people and businesses in Malawi.

 

As of December 2009, the bank's total assets were in excess of US$495 million, with shareholder's equity of about US$78 million.

One of the country’s high street banks, National Bank of Malawi, is boasting of a MK14.4 Billion pre-tax profit in the first half of the year.

In an unaudited financial statement for the first six months of 2017, the company reveals it has made the said profit which is an improvement to what was made during the same period in 2016.

During the first half of 2016 the bank post an MK11.8 Billion profit before tax, representing a 22 percent growth in its profits.

According to the company’s Chief Executive Officer Mcfussy Kawawa the performance is due to an improved operating environment for business in the year.

Much as this is good news to the shareholders of the company, the public is still complaining that banks continue to make superficial profits while the general populous is challenged by the struggling economy.

Kawawa is optimistic that the bank’s performance will improve further, owing to changes in the national economic landscape.

Meanwhile the bank’s performance is also leaving positive results on the stock exchange, with a share price gain having been registered in the just ended week.

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