The Cross-Border Traders Association (CBTA) has expressed concern about the tendency of some foreigners who sell their products door-to-door, describing it as unfair trade practice.
CBTA Blantyre Chapter vice-secretary Helen Nyirenda said this in Blantyre yesterday when National Initiative for Civic Education (Nice) Trust engaged the association alongside the Department of Immigration and Citizenship Services on issues pertaining to the Southern African Development Community (Sadc) Trade protocols.
During the meeting, CBTA members said the door-to-door business practice is putting local traders at a disadvantage; hence, they want relevant authorities to intervene.
In an interview on the sidelines of the meeting, Nyirenda said they hope relevant authorities will act with speed to ensure a level-playing field.
She said: “Mainly, the complaints are that some Egyptians are moving around residential areas selling their products which means they don’t pay business taxes or even city rates. So, it’s only us who are paying the city rates and taxes but yet our businesses are being stifled in that way.”
While describing the meeting as beneficial as they were enlightened on some trade practices, Nyirenda added that CBTA and its members were not happy with the current passport fee, describing it exorbitant.
She said as traders move around a lot, they regularly renew their passports which affects them financially as they do not always make big profits.
But in a separate interview, Department of Immigration and Citizenship Services deputy spokesperson Wellington Chiponde said they took note of the complaints raised by the association.
He said: “It was an important platform for us to meet the cross-border traders because we have explained our role as immigration, which is to facilitate the movement of people and issues of trade.”
On his part, Nice Trust civic education officer for Blantyre Joseph Chamambala, said they will lobby relevant authorities to address the issues that CBTA raised.
He said: “We took note of the concerns that they raised and we will lobby relevant authorities to see to it that there should be change.”
Chamambala, who described the meeting as fruitful, said Nice Trust decided to engage the CBTA to enlighten them on protocols, rules and regulations that govern trade within the Sadc region.
The meeting was also supposed to have Malawi Revenue Authority and Blantyre City Council officials, but both sent an apology for their absence.