Goods ‘transiting’ through Zambia are flooding local market – Commerce PS

Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Industry Permanent Secretary Kayula Siame says government is committed to providing an enabling business environment by eliminating obstacles to trade in an effort to make Zambia a business hub.

And Siame says government is concerned with increasing reports of unaccustomed goods in transit which end up leaking to the domestic market.

In a statement yesterday, Siame stated that efforts to promote and nurture high level cooperation and coordination with other countries in order to facilitate a lucrative business environment, were underway.

“The government has placed emphasis on the need to position the country as a business hub for domestic and regional trade. Government is therefore committed to providing an enabling business environment by eliminating obstacles to trade. In this regard, government has invested in efforts aimed at reducing costs of trade through the introduction of sound policies and interventions at the domestic level. Efforts are also being made to promote and nurture high level cooperation and coordination with other countries in order to ensure that an appropriate business environment is in place to facilitate trade,” Siame stated.

And the Permanent Secretary stated that a trade related facility project was currently being implemented at the ministry to enhance national monitoring and disposal of non-tariff barriers related cases.

“The SADC protocol on trade requires member states to cooperate and coordinate towards implementing measures that will eliminate all forms of barriers to trade. And through SADC, a trade related facility project being implemented at the Ministry of Commerce Trade and Industry, has been strengthened to enhance national monitoring and disposal of non-tariff barriers related cases. Recently, the National Monitoring Committee (NMC) on NTBs was revitalized and the committee took time to consider outstanding NBTs relating to Zambia which have been reported on the tripartite online NBT Monitoring and Reporting Mechanism with a view to resolving them. There were 25 NBTs reported against Zambia and the cases ranged from transporters experiencing delays at the weigh bridges and Chirundu border, to no seizure notices being issued to trackers that fall ill during transit in the country,” Siame stated.

“The committee considered 13 out of the 15 cases including those being discussed at bilateral level. Nine out of 13 cases were reviewed and considered as resolved representing 69 per cent resolution. The remaining four are still being considered as they need further clarification and consultations with responsible institutions. Further, government is also concerned with increasing reports of unaccustomed goods in transit which end up leaking the domestic market. Goods intended for regional and overseas markets are said to be flooding the local market and if this development is to continue, it will have adverse effects on government revenue and local production.”

Meanwhile, Siame disclosed that government had released funds for to the Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA) and the Federation of the Clearing and Forwarding Association of the Southern Africa (FCFASA) to undertake a fact finding mission on key transit routes.

“The government is therefore also happy that the Trade Related Facility (TRF) project has made resources available for Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA) and Federation of the Clearing and Forwarding Association of the Southern Africa to undertake a fact finding mission on key transit routes. The aim is to have empirical findings that will better inform the government on how to curb abuse of goods in transit. The ministry is optimistic that these and other interventions earmarked in the project will make meaningful impact and considerably compliment results, ensuing from interventions of other projects,” stated Siame.

         

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