Business people who ply their trade in Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) countries have hailed the Mchinji-Mwami One Stop Border Post describing it as a timely intervention to accelerate trade amongst SADC Countries.
One of the cross-border traders Linda Lyson said the One Stop Border Post has brought several advantages to the business community.
Processes have improved at the border – Lyson
“I do business in Malawi, Mozambique, Zambia, Tanzania to South Africa. Before this development, we used to face the challenges of spending more time at the border. That had a negative impact on our turnaround times. Currently, if I do my papers this end I don’t need to do the same on the Zambian side, this is a good development. However, let me ask MRA officials that when they inspect the goods here and give us the necessary papers at the border they should not stop us along the way from the border as this delays us but otherwise this is a welcomed development,” said Lyson.
Some of the frequent users of the Mchinji -Mwami One Stop Border Post include truck drivers. Oumsley Banda working with Wills General Trading said the OSBP infrastructure at the Mchinji – Mwami Border Post has facilitated the fast processing of required papers.
Security for our goods has improved – Banda
“If am coming from the Zambia side I do all paperwork on that side as Malawi Government officers are also housed on that side therefore I don’t need to stop this side of Malawi. Secondly, look at this wide space and security here, previously thieves used to steal our goods when we stopped at the border but this is not happening as this place is well secured,” said Banda.
In the meantime, Steven Kapoloma, the Head of Corporate Affairs at the Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA), has given his assurance to all individuals utilising the border that MRA will persistently uphold efficiency at the Mchinji One Border Post.
MRA is for efficiency at the borders – Kapoloma
“This will be achieved through enhanced collaboration, regular updates to stakeholders, the provision of state-of-the-art facilities, and comprehensive training for MRA officials,” he told the press.
Recent data from the African Union and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) reveals that intra-African exports account for only approximately 13% of total trade, which is significantly lower compared to Europe’s 60%, North America’s 40%, and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) 30% intraregional trade levels. This indicates that African countries primarily engage in trade with nations outside the continent, resulting in missed opportunities to fully capitalize on the benefits of market integration and economies of scale.
According to the World Trade Organisation to address this issue, the establishment of one-stop border posts (OSBPs) becomes crucial. The body said OSBPs play a pivotal role in enhancing connectivity and promoting deeper regional market integration by streamlining border clearance processes at a single location.
The One Stop Border Post (OSBP) is a significant modernization project initiated by the Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA). Its primary goal is to streamline and expedite the processing of imports and exports between Malawi and its neighbouring countries, thereby promoting legitimate trade and enhancing revenue collection.