The Malawi Bureau of Standards (MBS) has reiterated its commitment to widen its catchment areas for conducting spot checks for all products and goods coming into Malawi in a bid to arrest product dumping and protect local industries.
In an interview with Business News on Tuesday, MBS chief executive officer Davlin Chokazinga said dumping has become rampant in recent times because some of the country’s borders are porous.
“We are currently operating in borders and, of course, we do engage our personnel time and again so that we can check the market of some of these dumped products and the exercise has so far been rewarding. We have been able to confiscate some of these products on the market and fish out some of the suppliers.
“However, we still experience this problem as our borders are porous and we cannot be in all these places as the law currently limits us. But we should expand our horizon once the revised IQMS has been gazetted,” he said.
Through its revised Imports Quality Monitoring Scheme (IQMS), MBS seeks to go beyond the current operating border posts of Songwe in Karonga, Mchinji, Mwanza, Muloza in Mulanje and Dedza as well as through market surveys.
However, dumping of products into Malawi occurs through other routes such as Nakonde and Chisinga in Chitipa from Tanzania; Katumbi in Rumphi and Mqocha in Mzimba from Zambia; Sandama in Thyolo, Nayuchi in Machinga, Chiponde in Mangochi, and Biriwiri in Ntcheu from Mozambique.
The current IQMS was established in 1993 with the objective of protecting the consumer in ensuring that imported products are monitored for quality and that they do not cause safety or health hazards to humans, animals or damage the environment and in turn provide a level playing field for similar products made in Malawi.
The scheme also safeguards the national economy and prevents Malawi from becoming a dumping ground for substandard products
However, in recent times, Malawi has become a dumping ground for products in various categories ranging from construction, electronics, cosmetics and food.
Dumping takes place when a product is exported for less than the price at which it is sold domestically.
In determining whether dumping is taking place, a “fair comparison” needs to be made between the domestic selling price and the export price and adjustments should be made for differences that affect price comparability, including “differences in conditions and terms of sale, taxation, levels of trade, quantities, physical characteristics, and any other differences which are also demonstrated to affect price comparability differences in taxation, levels of trade, product characteristics and terms and conditions of trade.
Chokazinga added that businesses are losing millions of Kwachas every year as a consequence of buying uncertified products.
In a separate interview, the Small and Medium Enterprises Association of Malawi (Smea) president James Chiutsi said small scale businesses are failing to blossom as they cannot compete with dumped products, which are in most cases sold at a much lower price than home-made products. n