President Mutharika Commissions K9bn Raiply EPZ Factory

Written by  Peter Makawa and Chimwemwe Milulu

Raiply Export Processing Zone EPZ limited factory is the first of its kind in Malawi and the second largest in Southern Africa. It is a subsidiary of Raiply Malawi established within the present Raiply factory premises located at Viphya plantations in the Northern Region of Malawi.

According to the company’s Chief Executive Officer, Khrishna Das, their core business is to produce timber and timber related products for both domestic and foreign markets.

‘The factory invited an investment of 12 million US dollars for the production of Medium Density Fireboards (MDF) used in high-grade furniture or construction industries.’ He said.

He added that the Medium Density (MD) boards manufactured at the factory serve as an import substitute hence saving the economy of huge foreign exchange drainage.

‘Further to that, about 80% of the products are sold on to the international market therefore contributing significantly to the country’s foreign exchange earnings.

‘As part of our agreement with government, we harvest and utilize forestry resources from the concession area, and our responsibility is to replant harvested and burnt areas apart from undertaking forest protection activities within the concession area while the trees and the land remain the property of the Malawi Government,’ he added.

Khrishna Das said that his company acts as a value addition entity in the wood processing industry with the new unit employing an addition of more than 300 employees.

He also hailed Raiply Company for being faithful on tax payment since its inception.

“The various taxes have grown from 11 million Kwacha in the 1999 financial year to 2.5 billion Kwacha in the last financial year. It is expected to go up to three billion Kwacha in the current financial year,” said Khrishna Das.

In his address, His Excellency President Prof Arthur Peter Mutharika said the K9 billion Raiply Export Processing Zone Limited, EPZ, factory will not only change the landscape of the region, but also save Malawi forex as it maximizes on utilization of natural resources.

‘This Raiply EPZ comes at a time my government projected to narrow the trade deficit by 7.8 percent this year from 10.9 percent in 2014. We are making progress; we are reducing imports, and increasing exports. We want to sell more outside and buy less,’ said President Mutharika.

The President then invited more private companies to invest in Malawi, promising them all the support they need in order to establish and run viable businesses.

‘We have stabilized the economy, and all economic fundamentals are supportive of any investment. This year alone, Malawi has risen on the doing-business index with 23 percent…So I welcome more investors into Malawi. Conditions are very conducive right now for investments.’

The Malawi Leader then called upon all people living in areas within and around the concession area to take care of this big investment by protecting forests from wild fires and avoid harvesting timber, illegally.

Before opening the new factory, the President and other government officials were taken on a tour to the old factory before appreciating the new factory.

Raiply Malawi Limited is working under a logging concession agreement with Malawi government on some 20,000 hectares of the Viphya Plantations to ensure continuous supply of raw materials.

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