Cross-border Traders Association president Esther Tchukambiri has lamented multiple Covid-19 certificate payments and strict border regulations when entering neighbouring countries as emerging drawbacks to their business.
In an interview, she said some traders with valid Covid-19 certificates obtained in Malawi have been subjected to further coronavirus tests and fresh certification at a cost at borders and airports in the region.
She said the repetitive testing and certification process, including quarantine demands in some instances, eat into their budgets and slow their businesses.
This, according to Tchukambiri, has forced some traders to abandon cross-border business to save themselves from inconveniences and extra costs that corrode their capital.
Tchukambiri said: “The traders are paying K35 000 for a Covid-19 certificate valid for 14 days and $25 [about K20 500] for testing and issuance of the certificate in Tanzania for example.
“This is a lot of money for small scale businesses and for every 14 days for regular business travellers it means they have to cough K35 000 and $25 in foreign land.”
A study by the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa found that small and medium-scale enterprises continue to face trade facilitation challenges despite improvements achieved on the continent.
This was derived from data for 34 African countries that participated in the recent survey.