Malawi probes forex bureau association

A senior official of the FBAM has, meanwhile, vowed to play a crucial role in investigating these allegations levelled against its members to ensure trust between forex bureaux and the Reserve Bank of Malawi (RBM). The president of the Forex Bureau Association of Malawi Nazir Nathvani of Money Bureau Limited in Lilongwe said in a statement that they would leave no stone unturned in their bid to bring the culprits to book if proof was provided. Nathvani said: “Forex hoarding is an offence and those found doing so will have to be punished according to the law. As an association, we will help RBM to investigate such cases so that the economy does not suffer,” he said. He said the association has been formed to act as a collective voice for the forex bureau operators, interface with the central bank, encourage adherence to a code of ethics for the sector, foster co- operation among the various players within the industry and generally advance and promote any matters of interest to its members. “This association will enable us speak with one voice. RBM will now consult us when coming up with restrictions in our operations unlike the way they have been doing before. “There are also some forex bureau operators who were not abiding to the profession’s code of conduct. With the formation of this association, we will make sure that this is followed,” said Nathvani. The formation of the association was in line with RBM’s recent request that all forex bureau operators should form a self-regulated association whose rules would be endorsed by the central bank as one way of improving communication between them. RBM is in the process of reviewing the guidelines governing operations of foreign exchange bureaus in the country, starting with the minimum share capital for opening and operating a bureau, which has been revised to an equivalent of US$50 000. Meanwhile, investors and stakeholders in the tourism industry have applauded the Malawian government for its plans to construct the Mangochi/Monkey Bay to Cape Maclear road, saying the project would attract investors and help enhance the tourism sector, regarded as one of the major forex earners for the country. Jumbo Safaris Manager Estobel Richard commended the government for its plans to construct the road which he said has been in bad condition for some time despite playing a very important role of transporting tourists to Lake Malawi’s most beautiful scenery and the Lake Malawi National Park. The National Roads Authority will construct the road. Richard said investors were failing to start new tourism business in the area because of the bad condition of the road and said the construction of the road would attract more tourists and boost the economy because tourists bring foreign currency into the country. “Government has done a commendable job of starting implementation phases of the road, it is a welcome idea,” said Richard. NRA public relations manager Portia Kajanga said rehabilitation of Mangochi-Monkey Bay road to Cape Maclear would be carried out this year, under the Lakeshore Road Infrastructure Programme to be funded by European Union (EU). Kajanga said when completed, the road could not only provide better access to markets and social amenities to people in the area but would also greatly boost tourism due to its strategic location. She said the design consultant, a venture of Gauff/Loudo, has already reviewed the designs and is finalising preparation of the tender documents. She, however, could not say how much the project would cost, saying that can only be said after scrutinising and awarding of tenders. “According to a tentative timetable that has been put up, the actual road works are expected to commence sometime in August this year and will run up to December next year. Rehabilitation works will begin from about 1.5km before Mangochi Boma, up to Monkey Bay, a total of 64km,” she said. Kajanga said tenders for Civil Works for the 18km Cape Maclear Spur and Nakundu Bridge on the Monkey Bay road were being prepared separately but would be launched together with those of the main road. Minister of Information and Tourism Patricia Kaliati said the construction of the road would be a milestone on the uplifting of tourism, development and economy of the country. Some of the projects to be carried out by NRA this year, according to Kajanga, include Bunda Mitundu road, Bridges between Balaka and Salima, routine maintenances, normal road maintenances, construction of selected roads in the cities, Dedza customs, Likuni road, and Mzimba spur.

March 2006
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