Improved Trade Statistics and Information System Project





Implementation: Direct Decentralised Operation:  By National Statistics Office (NSO)

Duration              Three years


1.0    Background

Malawi government and the European Union signed a Financing agreement (FA) on 11th May 2011 to implement the capacity building towards Trade and Private Sector Development programme with contribution from 10th EDF of 12 million Euro to address of the identified challenges in trade statistics and also trade, industry and private sector development SWAp.


2.0    Problems to be addressed

a)    Quality of statistics is poor especially trade and investment statistics

b)   Current statistical services in the country are weak

c)    Need to also improve the capacity of the relevant institutions


3.0    Objectives

The objective of this project is to enhance the capacity of the relevant government departments to provide effective trade statistics and relevant intelligence for policy making and analysis; and for private sector use. This aspect specifically targets the National Statistics Office (NSO), the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) and Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA) to generate, process and package trade related information and statistics for policy making, monitoring trade performance and improving the capacity of the trade related institutions to provide timely and up to date trade intelligence for private sector and investors use in the economy


4.0    Result Areas

This programme under 10th EDF Regional Integration, Trade and Investment Components aims at accelerating growth and reducing poverty through growth of export enterprises. The programme has three components;

a)    Enhancing capacity of the responsible government departments to provide trade intelligence and statistics. Part of the intervention supports TIPSWAp - NSO/MoIT

b)   Development towards providing a robust standardisation, quality assurance, accreditation and metrology infrastructure  - MBS

c)    Regulating the mineral sector and promoting mineral activity for exports – Ministry of Natural Resources, Energy and Mines.


5.0    Implementation Arrangements

The project activities are implemented as a direct decentralised operation under the supervision of the MoIT. The responsibility for implementation is delegated to the National Statistics Office (NSO). The programme implementation is overseen by the Steering Committee which will provide strategic guidance and direction to the project.


6.0    Activities - PE2 Subsection 1.5

Under PE 2 the implementation of this activity included:

·         The project implements a number of activities and involves the provision of technical support to the TIP SWAp to assist in the streamlining of trade information systems to the policy decision making processes, including the development of a trade sector-wide review and monitoring system.

·         Consultations, workshops or Technical Working Group (TWG) meetings held on specific topics relating to the TIP SWAp and its Joint Sector Strategy (JSS).

·         Quarterly TWG/SWG Meetings of the TIP SWAp: Regular and institutionalised meetings of the six TWGs formed under the TIP SWAp and the SWG, which is the sector’s oversight body, were in order to report and assess progress on implementation of the JSS and discuss way forward.

·         Annual TIP SWAp Joint Sector Review: Annual meeting of all sector stakeholders to monitor progress in the sector including the operationalisation of the SWAp.

·         Action Task Force of the SWG meetings: The Action Task Force which is a committee consisting of co-chairs of TWG and a few other high-level key members met whenever to take immediate action on matters of importance, to ensure progress on priority actions, and also met with senior officials where lobbying was required.

·         Analysis and reviews on issues emerging from TWGs, SWG or JSS

·         Development of Joint Sector Strategy and its Results Framework:

·         Consultancies relating to priority TIP SWAp actions as validated by the SWG in April 2013.

·         Strengthening the capacity of the TIP SWAp Secretariat:

·         The implementation of this activity included the procurement of office furniture, ICT equipment. The procurement of a motor vehicle for use by the TIP SWAp Secretariat is yet to be finalised. It has been incorporated in the PE3.

·         Programme Steering Committee (PSC) Meetings: Organising and coordinating of PSC quarterly meetings (ideally including SQAM and Mining components).


7.0    Status of the Project Implementation  

·         The project has so far support a number of activities. So far, there have been six rounds of technical working group meetings that have taken place. Each rounds consists of six TWGs meetings implementing various strategies under NES i.e. access to markets, sugar, manufacturing, oilseed products, access to finance, BDS and information and access to skills. These meetings have been conducted with wide participation from government, donors and private sector stakeholders.

·         A number of issues and recommendations were advanced regarding sector programmes and reforms;

o   Work on the development of the Sugar sector regulatory framework (RF). A Task Force to work on the formulation of the framework constituted and its composition is as follows; representatives from Government (MoIT, MoAFS), the private sector (Ethanol, Illovo Sugar, Concern Universal and Growers) with MoIT as its secretariat. Regulatory Framework for Sugar cane production - development task force formed. Task force action plan developed. Task force meets monthly.

o   Additionally development of a concept note on Sugar Cluster Products Investor Facilitation Programme is also continuing.

o   Regulatory framework for Warehouse Receipt System - Work on the development of a regulatory framework for Warehouse receipts & commodity exchanges for Agro Processing/Beverage inputs is continuing. A number of consultation meetings have been done with support from World Bank

o   One Stop Shop approved by Cabinet in 2013 - BEE project to help operationalize MITC

o   Export Facilitation - MITC on a mapping of the products against markets information for usage by exporters. Again, consultations have started on ensuring that negotiators of trade agreements with countries in the region like Botswana should seriously fight for having a memorandum of understanding on mutually agreed standards.

o   Industrial Policy under development - Draft due 30 April 2014. Feasibility Study for Agro Processing SEZ via EIF Tier 2 (Ministry to request funds from EIF)

o   Tax efficiency and support for Manufactures TWG members - Task Force comprising MoIT, MBS, MRA , MoF and Private Sector Representatives formed  to look at the impact of the current tax system on manufactures competitiveness and propose favourable recommendations. Working on VAT inconsistencies and appeals board.

o   National Quality Policy approved by Cabinet – Initial recommendations from manfacturing TWGs indicate that MBS should prioritise development of standards for products in the manufacturing cluster especially for export markets. SQAM project under way; National Quality Policy underway but major obstacles (MBS becoming a facilitator and not regulator) remain; no public-private engagement platform on standards. Norad support; Functional Review of MBS

o   Single Window - from 1st April 2014, SA Trade Hub to undertake readiness & feasibility study; to build on upgrading of Asycuda + to Asycuda World (which will allow single electronic window)

o   Transport Facilitation Programme – yet to be launched; using Vale project as lead (main phase due December 2014); gap on feeder roads linked to NES priority crops/products; and gap on Liwonde to Mchinji railway; Liwonde dry port.

o   Identification of flagship programmes i.e. deliberate policy shifts to support promotion of yields of specific crops, agro-processing and value addition i.e. ARRET Oilseed irrigation, Cooperative development and extension services, Commercial farming, Engagement of GBI, engagement of ADMARC on agriculture marketing, Special Economic Zones, Anchor farms, Market linkage Infrastructures ( Warehousing and roads etc.)

o   Encouraging Industrial / manufacturing outputs i.e. incentives, taxes, credit, including benchmarking yields / industrial outputs

o   Harnessing productive capacity building – includes Skills development initiatives, Loans access to private sector / MSMEs and increasing savings and investments

o   Quality and accreditation - work is underway to construct laboratories which will house key testing and calibration equipment. Funding has been allocated through the 2014/15 budget.

o   Development of a tax incentive package that is geared solely to the Manufacturers Cluster – Formation of an Industrial Rebate Appeals Committee was proposed and a task force is currently looking at the process of ammending the Customs and Excise Act to ensure that the decisions made by the committee have a legal backing;

·         The Manufacturers TWG has developed ToRs for a consultant to conduct a skills scoping study in Malawi particularly in the Manufacturing sector- The study will assist in addressing the skills gap that is hindering the development of the manufacturing sector;

·          Access to Land Programme for Sugarcane – finalised ToRs for an EU financed consultant to review available maps, identify gaps, and draft ToRs for a comprehensive land review project;

·         Affordable access to Inputs (Addressing laws and regulations impacting on access to inputs, Improving research, Access to irrigation) –

o   The Task Team on Seed is tracking the progress of the new Seed Act,

o   The Task Team on Research is putting together a listing of key players in Oil Seed Research in Malawi as a first step of prioritising the work; and

o   The Task Team on Irrigation is commissioning a study on the constraints to the growing of oil seed crops on irrigation schemes in Malawi. 


·         Institutional organisation, strengthening and collaborations