MCCCI vice-president Edward Kalua was speaking in Blantyre during celebrations to mark International Customs Day under the theme Ã¢â‚¬ËœBorders Divide, Customs ConnectÃ¢â‚¬â„¢.
During the celebrations, SGSÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s business development manager Lysander Antonatos introduced a cargo tracking system called Omnis which can be used by both the private sector and government to monitor movement of goods and their status.
“This [Omnis] appears to be a good product and I think it will benefit many importers and exporters.
“But one thing I want to tell you is that please bring us only this product. Please donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t bring us pre-shipment inspection,” said Kalua.
SGS was until June 2003 providing PSI services to the Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA) before the services were taken over by Intertek Testing Services (ITS).
MRA phased-out pre-shipment inspections on July 1 2007. To reduce the risk of losing revenue, the move was anchored by two complementary initiativesÃ¢â‚¬â€introduction of risk management and post clearance audit.
“Before PSI, my hair was black, but it turned grey because of you people. Please, please never bring back PSI to Malawi,” said Kalua, who is managing director of freight forwarding giant Combine Cargo.
Antonatos said his company is not interested in bringing back PSI services in Malawi this time around.
“Of course, SGS was here providing pre-shipment inspection services sometime back. We are no longer providing such services in Malawi. Our view is that there are a number of solutions that can be useful to customs and the private sector that we are able to offer and one of these solutions is Omnis,” he said.
PSI services came under increased pressure from various commentators, including the Society of Accountants in Malawi (Socam) in mid 2000 who described the system as unfair to importers.