By Chimwemwe Mangazi:
Small and medium cross border traders are imploring the government to engage other governments in the region to establish deliberate infrastructure in strategic points to house markets for smooth trading of their products both in Malawi and the region.
This came out during a workshop which Cross Border Traders Association organised on Monday in Lilongwe under the theme Simplified Trade Regime and Gender in Cross Border Trade where they discussed challenges faced in the course of border business.
It transpired that the entrepreneurs are subjected to various abuses at border posts, especially by customs and immigration officials who demand bribes to allow the traders to proceed on their journey.
Cross Border Traders Association President, Esther Chukambiri, said players in cross border business are also failing to grow their enterprises due to lack of access to cheap capital.
“We are asking the government to consider providing us with grants to grow our businesses because this sector alone contributes about 40 percent to all business operations in Malawi and that tells how significant we are to the entire economy.
“We also want infrastructure so that we can be selling our merchandise in one place for easy visibility so that our customers should find us easily. This should also be done in other countries where we sell,” Chukambiri said.
Ministry of Trade, Industry and Tourism assistant Director of Trade, Diamond Chikhasu, said the ministry would engage countries in the region to address challenges the traders are facing, especially at border posts.
“We have registered the issue of harassment in border posts,” Chikhasu said.
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