By Yankho Seunda:
The National Initiative for Civic Education (Nice) Trust last week drilled members of the Cross Boarder Traders Association (CBTA) in Blantyre on trade protocols guiding cross-border trade in the Southern Africa Development Community (Sadc) region.
This follows complaints that local traders were being abused by customs officers when entering or exiting various trading partner countries in the region.
Speaking during the interface, Nice Trust District Civic Education Officer for Blantyre rural, Ruth Wengawenga, said it is high time members of the association have adequate information on business rights and protocols to enhance trade.
“Our cross-border traders are facing numerous challenges, we hope the information delivered by the Ministry of Trade and the Immigration Department plays a crucial role towards registering a positive change,” Wengawenga said.
Regional Trade Officer in the Ministry of Trade, Charles Chavula, said provision of a simplified trade regime in the Sadc region will ease rising challenges of smuggling between countries.
“There is a $2000 threshold provision that cross boarder traders enjoy when they import goods from within the Sadc region as they are only allowed to suffer tax for products in excess of the amount,” Chavula said.
He also encouraged the traders to follow proper procedures governing cross-border trade to enhance their businesses.
Secretary of the CBTA, Maggie Mhango, hailed Nice for the initiative saying they have been equipped with relevant details that will propel their businesses past the challenges they encounter.
“We are faced with high costs of new passports and renewal fees also we are requested to have R3000 when travelling to South Africa as a cash bond, to be allowed entry, which jeopardises our security,” Mhango said.