The Malawi- Zimbabwe bilateral trade agreement is an opportunity for the country’s businesspeople to boost their businesses, Indigenous Businesses Association of Malawi (Ibam) president Mike Mlombwa has said.
Mlombwa’s comment follows a statement by Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA) commissioner general Raphael Kamoto on the Malawi- Zimbabwe bilateral trade agreement to stimulate trade between the two countries by removing tax barriers and other forms of trade bottlenecks.
Mlombwa in an interview on Thursday said the development is welcome, stressing that the country’s small and medium entreprises (SMEs) can benefit from the initiative if properly utilised.
“This initiative can positively contribute to the growth of our economy and will likely to earn us foreign currency. Zimbabwe has a lot of business opportunities, some of the notable and viable key areas, being its tourist attraction sites. If Malawians use the chance, we are likely to benefit a lot,” he said.
Mlombwa, however, urged government to ensure that SMEs are reached with the message, saying that there is little information about this development, as such, the average Malawian is not aware of this agreement.
Under the agreement, goods imported from Zimbabwe into Malawi are given import duty free status similarly with exports to Zimbabwe from Malawi.
According to MRA, Interested businesspeople are required to apply to the authority listing goods they want to export and the authority will verify if the goods are fully grown and originating in Malawi.
Thereafter, MRA will notify the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (ZRA) of the manufacturer and their products.
MRA, which has the mandate to collect tax and facilitate international trade, has since called on businesspeople in the country to utilise the agreement to boost their business.
This is not the first attempt for the country to improve trade among African regions.
Last year, the country attempted to improve trading across borders by launching cargo scanners on its main borders to limit the frequency of physical examinations, thereby facilitating legitimate trade and improving the doing business environment in the country. n