The Zambia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ZACCI) says if Britain eventually leaves the European Union (EU) next March, Zambia is not likely benefit by having increased trading opportunities with that country.
British Prime Minister Theresa May triggered the process of leaving the EU to formally cut off links on March 29, 2017, after British voters chose to leave the trade bloc during the historic 2016 referendum, dubbed “Brexit.”
The means that the UK is scheduled to leave the EU at 23:00 hours, UK time, on Friday, March 29, 2019.
Since “Brexit” is now British law, the UK is due to leave the EU next March regardless of whether there is a deal with the EU or not, throwing into question where Britain’s future major trading links will now be with.
Commenting on the development, however, ZACCI president Michael Nyirenda argued that Zambia does not stand to benefit much from Britain’s “Brexit” deal with the EU.
Nyirenda noted that Zambia would still maintain its usual trading benefits with Britain at a much smaller scale compared to trading with the EU on a larger scale.
“Whether UK succeeds with a deal or no deal, I don’t think we need to be looking at choosing whether we should trade with the UK or trade with the EU, we’ll trade with both. But the fact is that their own arrangement is that, the UK will not have access to the EU market,” Nyirenda explained in an interview.
“With the EU, you have more than one currency, so it’s a bigger market than you have with the UK; even in terms of population, numbers of GDP and everything else. But the point is that, for us, I don’t think it is going to provide any bigger market than it is currently because we are able to export to the UK, we are also able to export to the EU.”
Nyirenda added that Zambians enjoy more trading benefits with the EU market, which consists of different countries unlike the UK, which has one market.
“The only thing I currently see is that, if you go to the UK market, it’s one market; but even currently, you know that the UK does not accept the euro per say even in their current state. They still insist on their pound, but when you are in the EU, you can actually use the euro across, which is the issue I am talking about in terms of free trade. So, to me, I don’t think it will add any additional value for us, we’d have to keep both the EU as well as the UK in terms of our strategic plans,” Nyirenda added.
He also pointed out that Zambia has had linkages and a long history with the UK since colonial times, which has led to the UK thriving on providing more services, such as offering education.
He added that this calls for Zambia to focus on finding a way to intensify trade links with the UK as a trading partner.
Meanwhile, commenting on the trend of unregistered businesses in the country, Nyirenda said in order for the government to maximise on getting revenue, all Zambians must register their business, including those exempted from making payments temporarily.
“As a country, we need to realign all businesses so that we can then all contribute to the development of the country; in fact, the best is that as a country, you ask what you can do for a country than what the country can do to you,” said Nyirenda.
“The government through the Ministry of Finance will exempt certain people or companies for a specific purpose, but that does not mean they should not be formalized. So, in short, they should be formalized and registered, both as a business or business name, but also for the purpose of knowing and taxation that we all need to do that.”
He further urged any kind of business regardless of size to register as a company.