Saturday, May 18, 2013

Idea of inter-country market cheers Chililabombwe traders

By Vincent Matandiko
Tue 14 May 2013, 14:00 CAT

CHILILABOMBWE Cross Border Traders Association says it is happy with the government's intention to establish a modern inter-country market at Kasumbalesa Border Post.

According to Kasumbalesa branch chairperson Raphael Chingelesh, the modern infrastructure is expected to enhance business transactions for small-scale traders.

The association has also called on the government to revise regulations on the issuance of border passes by immigration officers to ease the movement of people and goods into the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to avoid illegal trade.

Zambian immigration officers currently issue border passes to people from within a restricted radius, while others have to use passports or travelling documents, a trend that forced some small scale traders to use undesignated routes and getting into conflict with the law in the DRC.

This came to light when Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Industry director for domestic trade Ambassador Albert Muchanga held a consultative meeting with various stakeholders at Kasumbalesa border regarding the construction of an inter-country market. Chingelesh said small-scale traders from various parts of the country who deal in edible products were faced with many challenges due to lack of a proper market.

He said that the only market at Kasumbalesa being run by the local authority had limited space, forcing traders to operate in undesignated areas under difficult circumstances.

The traders cited other challenges such as the poor security situation as they are sometimes robbed of their commodities and finances, poor sanitation situation which was a serious health hazard.

Other challenges brought out by the traders included the inadequate storage and lodging facilities, lack of banking facilities, language barrier when transacting with the Congolese as well as the lack of understanding of exchange rates, which led to some traders being swindled by middle men.

And Ambassador Muchanga assured the traders of government's willingness to help address their challenges and urged them to adhere to all local authority and national regulations during the course of their business.

He also urged the traders to formalise their businesses to access credit facilities from the government to enhance their businesses, as opposed to subletting shops to foreigners once the inter-country market is constructed.

Ambassador Muchanga and his team are touring various border posts in the country with a view to establishing inter-country markets in areas with the highest trade potential.

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