Trade gap bothers minister


Minister of Trade and Industry Simplex Chithyola Banda has reiterated the need for the country to boost its industrialisation drive as a way of cutting unnecessary imports while propelling exports.

He was speaking Monday when he toured the newly constructed Mwanza One Stop Border Post (OSBP).

He expressed concern over the widening trade gap due to, among other things, the country’s insatiable appetite for imports, coupled with low capacity to produce export commodities.


His lamentation comes as the import bill for Malawi—a net importer—stands at $3 billion against an export value of $1 billion per annum.

At the border post, Chithyola Banda observed that more trucks were ferrying goods into the country compared to export cargo.

“This means we are still heavily importing goods, thereby depleting our forex reserves. We must do something about this situation and the time to do it is now,” he said.


Chithyola Banda then said his ministry has lined up “quick gains” to promote the local industry which will propel activities.

“For us to be able to supply goods and services to foreign markets, we need to have proper volumes to meet the demand, and we need to ensure that we add value to the various products so that we can compete on the international market,” Chithyola Banda said.

He said the OSBP facility will turn around Malawi’s prospects on trade.

“For all the efforts that we will be doing, we will need improved infrastructure such as this to standardise trade and to reduce the time that cross border traders spend in such facilities,” Chithyola Banda said.

Earlier, Malawi Revenue Authority Marketing and Communications Manager Wilma Chalulu said the facility will assist in dealing with challenges faced in cross-border trade.

“The facility will promote knowledge and information sharing between officials; so, we expect that various challenges, including under-declaration of goods, will be dealt with in that regard,” Chalulu said.

Mwanza OSBP is among six facilities the country planned to construct.

Recently, President Lazarus Chakwera and his Zambian counterpart Hakainde Hichilema opened the Mchinji OSBP.

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