Inadequate border patrols fuelling smuggling of goods from Mozambique

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.

Smuggled cooking oil
Smuggling is now lucrative because due to porous 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.

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Emel
Emel
5 months ago

Times are hard. Palibe zolondana nyengo ya covid iyi

Mdala
Mdala
5 months ago

Yes the trader at Tsangano is right! “Malawian products are too expensive, because there is no policy in place to support local producer…” From expensive and sporadic utilities and energy supply, with extra high commercial cost prices, even there is revenue for government and generating of employment involved, high communication costs, expensive public and banking sector with hardly any service, money hungry offices like MBS, which do nothing in terms of value adding or quality control to your product, and so on….

Mdala
Mdala
5 months ago

I thought we have an Africa wide free trade zone???

Amzeru aku mmawa
5 months ago

Koma tikumammva mma wailesi akunena za free trade mu Africa kweni kweni iziyenda bwanji? Me I thought ukakagula katundu ku mosque uzingodusa Basi. Odziwanu talongosolani timve

Anzelu ndi Anzelu
Anzelu ndi Anzelu
5 months ago

How can this be happening when K585 million of Covid money was spent on border patrols? How can the Ministry of Trade talking about deploying MDF when there are ‘supposedly’ soldiers already on the ground patrolling and paid with Covid money. Covid-Gate has started. Towona zoopsa chaka chino.

nafundo zalo
nafundo zalo
5 months ago

ma officer a mma boager wo ndi omwe amayambitsa. ali ndi ma shop. ali ndi magalimoto aliyeseyo. nde munthu udabwe???? makala akalandidwa amakasiya kwa bwana then ali ndi list ya anthu omwe amagulitsana nao. timaziona izi..ndalama inapelekedwayo ma million wo anagawana.

dziko lovetsa cisoni. amaona ngati kumanga ma factory is a waste of time or a job they can start but not finish. kuzolowera kungolandila . ULESI

Ghengis Khan
5 months ago

People are trying to earn a living within the framework of informal economy and high unemployment. If they tighten the borders and people lose their livelihoods, are you going to be happy? Journalism is meant to serve the people, said George Verghese former editor of the Hindustan Times.

Last edited 5 months ago by Ghengis Khan
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