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Kabaza operators implicated in illegal importation of goods

IMPLICATED—Kabaza operators on a taxi rank

Sosten Gwengwe

Minister of Trade Sosten Gwengwe and his Homeland Security counterpart Richard Chimwendo Banda have implicated motorcycle taxi operators dubbed kabaza as being used to smuggle goods from neighboring countries.

The two Ministers made the remarks in Parliament on Monday saying the vice is reaping off revenue for the country.

Gwengwe said the operators are being used by people in different locations including cities such as Lilongwe to smuggle the goods.

“It is something that we are grappling with, we have engaged the National Intelligence Bureau and the Police in the Sadc region so that together we can end the vice,” Gwengwe said.

On his part Banda said his ministry is aware that some of the operators are also being used for human trafficking and the ministry is implementing strategies to end the vice.

He added that the Ministry of Transport will facilitate the training of kabaza operators across the country at Traditional Authority and at district headquarters at a reduced fee for them to get Class A driving licenses.

“These are bonafide Malawians who are looking at a chance to earn income to support their families. What we are putting in place is to make sure that they are trained, but at a reduced fee,” Banda said.

The minister also said the registration would help in identifying owners of the motorcycles to make sure that such small businesses are not owned by foreigners.

However, Minister of Finance, Felix Mlusu indicated that in the 2021/2022 National Budget, duty would be removed on the importation of the motorcycles.

Players in the manufacturing sector in the country have been complaining that they are being taken out of business due to smuggling.

In a recent interview Chibuku Products Limited (CPL) Malawi revealed that it has lost 40 percent of its market share to smuggled products from neighboring Zambia and unregulated spirituous liquor dominating the markets in the country.

The development they say has resulted in the company losing over $6 million (about K4.4 billion) in the past three years due to influx of the smuggled and unregulated products.

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