Malawi Confederation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (MCCCI) warned Societe General de Surveillance (SGS) a Swiss based firm not to bring pre-shipment inspection (PSI) services back in Malawi as it tortures traders.
MCCI vice-president Edward Kaluwa fired the war in Blantyre when SGS introduced a cargo tracking system called Omnis which can be used by both the private sector and government to monitor movement of goods and their status.
Kaluwa said Omnis seemed to be a good product with great benefits to many importers and exporters.
“But one thing I want to tell you is that please bring us only this product. Please don’t bring us pre-shipment inspection that is a torture we always want to forget,” said Kaluwa.
SGS was until June 2003 providing PSI services to the Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA) before the services were taken over by Intertek Testing Services (ITS).
“Before PSI, my hair was black, but it turned grey because of you people. Please, please never bring back PSI to Malawi,” said Kaluwa, who is managing director of freight forwarding giant Combine Cargo.
MRA phased-out pre-shipment inspections on July 1 2007. To reduce the risk of losing revenue, the move was anchored by two complementary initiatives—introduction of risk management and post clearance audit.
Antonatos said his company is not interested in bringing back PSI services in Malawi this time around.
“Of course, SGS was here providing pre-shipment inspection services sometime back. We are no longer providing such services in Malawi. Our view is that there are a number of solutions that can be useful to
customs and the private sector that we are able to offer and one of these solutions is Omnis,” he said.
PSI services came under increased pressure from various commentators, including the Society of Accountants in Malawi (Socam) in mid 2000 who described the system as unfair to importers.