Africa-Press – Malawi. Women conducting cross border trade in Mchinji have been advised not to use uncharted routes, a malpractice that makes Malawi fail to generate enough revenue to run the country.
Mchinji MRA Deputy Station Officer, Rachael Kapsera, said due to lack of knowledge on things like Simplified Trade Regime and SADC Regional Integration, women cross border traders shun formal routes because they fear costs.
Kapsera said the women opt for the informal ‘zalewa’ route instead.
The MRA Deputy Station Officer made the call during the donation of COVID-19 personal protective equipment made by Southern Africa Trust (SAT).
The donation included hand sanitizers and masks to women that engage in cross border trade in the district so that they safely conduct their business.
“We urge these cross border traders to start using formal routes. You know, apart from government generating enough revenue, we also protect the society from hazardous products such chemicals which enter the country illegally.
“In the same way, we protect our local industries,” she said.
One of the women conducting cross border trade in the district, Hellen Makukula, expressed the need for more awareness to cross border traders on STR so that the use of uncharted routes is discouraged.
“You know, most cross border traders are not aware of the benefits of STR. They don’t know that there is removal of import duty for goods that are under STR,” she said.
Makukula further said under STR, they do not use clearing agents to clear their goods at the border, hence cost reduction.
So, for cross border traders to know all these things, she said there is need for more awareness.
On donation of PPE for COVID-19, she hailed SAT for the timely support, saying women crossing the border will be safe from COVID-19 and that their businesses will not be disrupted.
She added: “The materials received today will help us as small scale traders to continue our operations.
“You know, small scale trade contributes significantly to income generation in the country,” she said.