Malawi Confederation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (MCCCI) has expressed disappointment with a new law introduced by Mozambican authorities, which requires chemicals including fertiliser passing through the country to have special transit permit.
MCCCI described the law as “strange and exploiting to the Malawian transporter”.
Business News has established that the Mozambique through its Agriculture Ministry has implemented a new law which is now in effect, where all chemicals among them fertilisers, inks and other agricultural chemicals transiting through the country will require a transit permit which cost an average of $350 (about K210 000).
Trucks without this permit, the source said, are being impounded. The permits should be obtained before importers of chemicals dispatch their goods from Johannesburg.
But MCCCI president Newton Kambala said on Monday the fee on the permits will be pushed to consumers in Malawi.
“We find this strange and exploiting. [Most of the people who use the chemicals and fertilisers] are poor farmers. The law will just make the farmer poorer here in Malawi,” he said.
The development comes at a time Malawi and neighbouring countries, Mozambique inclusive in June this year under the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa) and the East African Community (EAC) banner committed to remove trade barriers and some of the inconsistencies and costs as one way of promoting regional integration.
Kambala has since expressed fear that the new permit might lead to the closure of some businesses if the fee is only applied to Malawian transporters.
“The fee will make the Malawian transporter non competitive on this route driving him out of business. MCCCI would like to talk to Malawi Government to assist resolve this for the benefit of everybody,” he said.
Meanwhile, Ministry of Industry and Trade spokesperson Wiskes Nkombezi said the ministry has been receiving complaints on the same from the private sector and most of the stakeholders view the new transit permit of $350 to be too expensive.
“We are yet to get a thorough [response from Mozambique] on the law to appreciate why it has been put in place or whether it is justifiable or not.
“However, a quick reaction to it by various stakeholders reveals that it is viewed and perceived as a trade barrier which will affect many countries such as Malawi, Zambia, Swaziland and Zimbabwe that normally use Mozambique as a transit country to and from the sea for their trade,” Nkombezi said.
He said that the introduction of this new law is not in line with several Southern Africa Development Community (Sadc) and World Trade Organisation (WTO) protocols and agreements.n