Deputy Director for Investments in the Ministry of Trade and Industry, Diamond Chikhasu says sensitization of the business community on rules of origin on the African Continental of Free Trade Area (AFCFTA) is key to getting everyone on board to benefit from the world’s largest free trade area.
Speaking recently in Mzuzu ,Chikhasu said the business community need to comply with rules and regulations so that they benefit in free trade which was operationalized this year.
“Under African Continental of Free Trade Area (AFCFTA), there are certain parameters which the business community need to comply in this case the rules of origin which are roles or regulations or determination which countries implement whenever imports are coming into their country,” Chikhasu said.
Chikhasu said the sensitization meeting will help the business community to start exporting value added goods.
“If you look at Malawi economy we are an agro-based economy as such most of the exports are also agricultural commodities. Worse enough we export those agricultural commodities in their raw form. We are therefore encouraging the business community to find innovative ways to make sure that we desist from exporting raw commodities. We are likely to get higher earnings once we start adding value to these commodities,” he added.
Representative of the business community, Merin Munthali, said she is grateful to have been part of the meeting which has benefited her as a business person.
“Actually we have been facing a lot of challenges but at the same time I am grateful for the initiative the government has taken. We, as small and medium entrepreneurs, will benefit through the information they have given us,” Munthali said.
Among other immediate reforms to align with the new free trade regulations, government removed some tariffs which have been bothering business people in the past.
“When you are exporting or importing goods from within or outside your country, there is opportunity that some of the tariffs have been waived and there is a limit that if you buy goods worth less than $3000 you do not pay customs duty,” she said.
GIZ Supported the African Continental of Free Trade Area and More Income and Employment in Rural Area (MIERA) of Malawi Programme.