Inadequate or lack of patrols on Malawian borders have proved to be fuelling smuggling of essential items at Tsangano in Ntcheu and some other borders.
Tsangano is Ntcheu district shares a boundary with Mozambique where some local traders are using uncharted ways to smuggle wheat flour, cooking oil, beer and soft drinks among others, into Malawi.
Smuggling is the illegal importation or exportation of goods subject to customs control.
One shop owner in the district (name withheld), said they take advantage of lack of police and Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA) patrols to evade tax.
“Running business in Malawi is difficult because most of the policies do not support local companies. As such, most products from local companies are expensive. This is why we take advantage of lack of patrols to bring in consignments through Tsangano at a reasonable amount to make profits,” he said.
A trader (name witheld) said it was easy to smuggle products through Tsangano because the two countries shared a boundary.
“A yard away, you are in Mozambique and another yard, you are back in Malawi. People tend to run to the Mozambican side to evade police and MRA officers. This is because of the complex nature of the boundary which we share with Mozambique. Therefore most of the traders, whether small or medium scale, opt to use Tsangano to connect to Blantyre or Lilongwe and other areas,” he said.
From Balaka District, another trader said he orders items such as wheat flour, cooking oil and carbonated drinks in bulky at Tsangano.
“If I am to make profits, I have to smuggle products. We can’t make profits if we buy from local manufacturing companies. In the case of flour and cooking oil, these products are now expensive because government introduced Value Added Tax (VAT). When flour and oil prices went up because of VAT, most of the local traders simply shifted goal posts. You can’t buy expensive products in Malawi when you can relatively smuggle the same at a reasonable price,” he said.
This development comes a fortnight after Nyasa Times also uncovered rampant smuggling happening through Mulanje.
Investigations show that smugglers use bicycles, motorcycles (commonly known as Kabaza) and cars to ferry their goods in through uncharted ways.
The smugglers use routes in Mulanje Bale Constituency in Mwachokola Village, Traditional Authority Mabuka to connect to New Port along Ruo River.
Recently, the Ministry of Trade disclosed plans to deploy Malawi Defence Force (MDF) soldiers in the country’s borders in a bid to curtail smuggling of goods into the country.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :