Malawi Govt Revokes Sugar Import Licence

Malawi government has revoked import licence that was awarded to an investor who had expressed interest to invest in the sugar industry, the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism has confirmed.

Meanwhile, the ministry has been elusive as to what happened for the licence to be revoked as Principal Secretary in the Ministry, Ken Ndala told the media they will issue out a press statement on the same.

The Sugarcane Growers Association of Malawi (Sugam) has since hailed the decision to revoke the licence, saying the latest development will ensure the sustainability of the sugar industry and that rural sugarcane farmers will continue to benefit from the industry.

Sugam Board Chairperson, Frighton Njolomole, said a secure domestic market would ensure consistent supply of the product.

At least 3,000 smallholder farmers grow sugarcane accounting for 20 percent of the sugarcane used by Illovo annually.

Illovo Sugar Malawi Limited enjoys a monopoly status in the sugar industry, a situation competition bodies argue leads to consumer exploitation as there are no competing products on the market to offer an alternative to consumers in case they are dissatisfied with services from the dominant firm.

Weeks ago Illovo Sugar Malawi reacted to the reports of the new sugar importing investorĀ  by warning that it would be forced to lay off some of its workers if the government does not revoke the licence.

According to Illovo, allowing sugar imports would mean exporting Malawian jobs to the countries where the sugar would be imported from.NE