The Ministry of Industry and Trade has said the development of the Malawi Trade Portal (MTP)—a web-based facility that will provide all import, export or transit requirements—is on track and would be completed by March 2016.
He said: “The programme aims to enhance transparency and predictability to importers and exporters on all import and export procedures and regulations.”
He said the programme also complements World Trade Organisation (WTO) Agreement on Trade Facilitation, to which Malawi is a signatory, which obliges governments to enhance transparency and the flow of information to business communities.
The establishment of the trade portal, according to available information, requires a functional website linked to all trade-related institutions with regular updates of all trade intelligence information including trade agreements, available markets and market requirements at product level, procedures and process for export and acquiring trade-related certificates or documents.
Malawi has over the years not been performing well on the World Bank’s Doing Business Index and the Global Competitiveness Index (GCI) with its ranking always dismal.
In the 2015/16 GCI report, Malawi ranked 135 out of 145 economies, a dent on the country’s ability to attract investors.
The performance however, does not mean Malawi has no projects to improve the situation as the trade portal is just among the few that the country is currently implementing.
Meanwhile, besides the trade portal government is implementing the NSW programme, a one-stop electronic platform for exchange of information between traders and government agencies, which is anticipated would greatly help reduce trade transaction costs.
In May this year, government also rolled out an online registration of businesses which is contained in Business Registration Act as part of business reforms, raising hopes that the cost of doing business, time taken to get approvals and the overall doing business index would improve. n