Trucks carrying assorted exports from Malawi are stuck at Mwanza Border following the introduction of a transit bond system by the Mozambican Government in April this year, authorities have confirmed.
A transit bond is a guarantee given by an insurer or a bank.
Deputy station manager for Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA) at Mwanza Julio Mpinga, in an interview this week when Industry and Trade deputy minister Sam Ganda visited the border, said the trucks were stationed at the border for security reasons.
“Mozambique effected a transit bond system in April and that has caused delays to our trucks carrying our exports. However, for security reasons, the drivers have opted to park here and not at the Mozambique Border.
“In terms of speed of processing cargo at this border, imports are cleared within an average four hours while exports take about one and half hours. This, however, applies where the transporter has all the valid documentation,” he explained.
According to a highly-placed source at MRA, the problem has been there since April. The source explained that the Mozambican Government now requires 100 percent of duty on all transit goods—both exports and imports—that pass through that country as a guarantee in case the goods disappear within the country.
He said the problem is that clearing agents in Mozambique have apparently been overwhelmed because they have to provide the surety to Mozambique Revenue Authority
The source, however, added that there have been high-level meetings that involved revenue authorities of both Mozambique and Mozambique, clearing agents and key ministries and the problem is now being contained.
However, clearing agents association chairperson Mabvuto Khoza in a telephone interview on Thursday declined to comment on the issue arguing it was stale. He pointed out that the press was not available when the crisis was at peak.
But reacting to the delays, Ganda said the Mozambican Government, MRA, Ministry of Industry and Trade and other key players have been discussing issues pertaining to trade.
“Trading across borders is one of the key indicators of the performance of doing business and government is committed to its improvement. We have scanners in our borders which will start working soon after the bidding process is complete. This will greatly improve the time that takes to clear goods.
He said the country has undergone administrative reforms, adding that in the past it was only the Minister of Home Affairs who was signing the temporary employment permits.
Ganda said recently Cabinet directed that the chief immigration officer should be responsible for signing these unless if it is an appeal.
In the 2013 World Bank Doing Business Report, Malawi slipped six steps to 157 from 151 out of 183 economies.