National Initiative for Civic Education (Nice) Trust has encouraged Lilongwe vendors to utilise Southern Africa Development Community (Sadc) trade agreement to enhance their business opportunity.
Addressing the vendors on Saturday, Nice Lilongwe civic education officer Hajira Ali said it was important that vendors and cross-border traders know trade protocols that Malawi as a Sadc member State signed.
“We want more people to utilise the opportunity for trade because most traders do not know about the trade protocol and how they can benefit from the agreement,” she said.
Ali said they invited officials from Ministry of Trade, Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA), and Immigration Department to explain to the vendors how they can participate in cross-border trade.
On her part, Cross-Border Traders Association treasurer Rhoda Njikho said cross-border transactions are expensive for small traders.
“We pay more in border costs than large formal traders. However, this meeting is an eye-opener because now we know how we can obtain a trade licence and buy duty-free products,” she said.
In her remarks, MRA team leader Stella Daka said that through the meeting they learned the challenges facing the traders.
“As MRA, basically we work on processes and procedures, but we will forward the concerns that need interventions and interpretations with other public offices such as the ministries of Finance and Trade,” she said.
Nice is engaging local structures and councils in selected border districts on Sadc protocols which Malawi is party to.