Cross-border Traders Association chairperson Esther Chukambiri says global travel restrictions have forced some members out of business as they could not get merchandise for resell.
She said this in Lilongwe on Tuesdayon the sidelines of the association’s extra-ordinary meeting.
Said Chukambiri: “The pandemic has been around for a long time, and most traders have lost their capital because they could not travel across the borders to get merchandise.
“What is worse is that most of them do not have the means of starting their businesses again.”
Karonga-based Maggie Kamchacha said since the pandemic started, she has lost half of her income as most of her clients could not travel.
Her counterpart, Mchinji-based Regina Kanyimbiri said she was able to generate K25 000 in profits from the K500 000 she invested in May in fish, sausages, cooking oil and Zitenje business.
But following the closure of borders, she used the capital for other pressing issues to an extent that she sold her deep freezer in September to pay for her son’s school fees.
Said Kanyimbiri: “The demand for goods deteriorated and the frequency of deliveries went down. As a result, we used the working capital instead of profits for our daily needs.”
Meanwhile, the Open Society Initiative of Southern Africa (Osisa) has provided $9 000 (K6.7 million) to benefit cross-border traders in a revolving fund, while the Southern Africa Trust (SAT) has provided R120 000 (about K6.3 million) for the purchase and distribution of personal protective equipment such as masks and hand sanitisers for the traders to protect themselves from the spread of the virus.
The SAT funds have also gone into the production of women’s cross-border traders’ booklet on Covid-19 prevention and trade guidelines.
Southern Africa Cross-Border Traders Association gender officer Mary Malunga said the funds will help boost businesses and keep cross-border traders protected from Covid-19.