Malawi is to be among countries in the region expected to minimize loss of tax revenues through cargo diversion following adoption of the Comesa Virtual Trade Facilitation System (CVTF) initiated by the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa).
CVTF is an electronic system developed by Comesa for integration of other trade facilitation instruments on one online platform.
The digital system aims at aiding uninterrupted movement of goods across the region through integration of systems used by the regional revenue authorities, transporters, clearing agents, ports and customs among others.
Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA) Commissioner responsible Customs and Excise, Fatch Valeta, told delegates at the CVTF sensitization meeting in Blantyre on Wednesday that the initiative will help to seal loopholes in transportation of cargo.
MRA and Comesa recently signed an agreement to establish the regional cargo tracking system in Malawi.
Valeta said the system brings with it several benefits including improvements in revenue collection.
“The new scenario relieves MRA of the burden to have few officers serving at stations since the physical escort of transit goods was straining us because we were short of staff most of the times. The new system also means that the business community is assured of no delays at the border,” he said.
Comesa Group Financial Advisor, Sindisiwe Ndlovu, said implementation of the initiative becomes a game changer as it closes the existing loopholes in cargo tracking system.
He said the rolling out of the CVFTS in Malawi and the rest of the corridors in the region will result in improved operational efficiency by those involved in logistics and transport services.
“This is a robust system that will facilitate trade in the region and address challenges that still persist in terms of disruption in the movement of cargo,” he said.
Reacting, Transporters Association President, Abdul Lambat, said in an interview on the sidelines that the initiative will also help ease pressure faced by transporters when crossing borders.
He said that trackers will further help safeguard goods and in turn minimize possibility of business loss.
“Our goods in transit will be safeguarded through the system and that gives assurance of security and efficiency,” he said.
The CVTFS was already launched in Democratic Republic of Congo and Comesa intends to extend the initiative to Rwanda and Zambia, thereafter, the northern corridor of Djibout and Ethiopia.