Written by Sarah Munthali
Minister of Trade, Sosten Gwengwe has said the construction of the One stop border post at Mchinji/Mwami-Zambia border would ease cross border trade between the two countries.
According to the Team Leader of the Supervision at the One Stop Border project, Thomas Zilly, the Covid-19 pandemic delayed the construction, but the construction work would be completed by December 2020.
The Minister was speaking in Mchinji on Tuesday, when he, together with Minister of Industry Roy Kachale Banda visited Malawi Bureau of Standards (MBS) offices and the new one stop border post construction site.
“We visited the post which is funded by African Development Bank (AfDB), I am impressed with the construction work done so far, these structures will help our traders move their goods to Zambia and back without delays,” Gwengwe said.
“We expect an increase in the movement of the goods between the two countries, we want to export more to Zambia especially agriculture value added products,” he said.
Gwengwe said the One stop border post would help agencies working at the border such as the MBS, Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA) and Immigration have enough space to work.
Minister of Industry Roy Kachale said the newly constructed border post will help curb smuggling of goods using unchartered routes.
“We get reports from beverage, alcohol and confectionery industries in the country, that there was a lot of smuggling going on at Mchinji border, where traders use alternative routes,” he said.
Kachale said having toured the building under construction and having seen the facilities under construction he was impressed, but it would be a misfit if these facilities would not be used because of such traders.
“As a Ministry, we need to protect our industry, we are putting our industry at a disadvantage because issues of tax, quality inspection by MBS are by passed and this will render this building useless, if this is not checked,” he added.
Director General of MBS, Simon Mandala said the organisation ensures that the goods that are crossing the border into the country meet the required relevant standards.
“If the country has to export and import goods, the goods have to be checked that’s how trade can be facilitated, the coming in of the new facility, will help MBS to have adequate space that it needs to conduct its operations,” he said