Smuggling of oil, flour on the rise 

Local manufacturers should brace for tough times as smuggling of products from neighbouring countries is on the rise due to the porous borders.

Some smugglers arrive at Thuchira Bridge in Mulanje carrying cheap flour from Mozambique

It has been established that there is rampant smuggling of items such as cooking flour, cigarettes, cooking oil and drinks among others in districts sharing borders with Mozambique and Zambia.

An investigation in Mulanje  showed smuggling of cheap wheat flour and cooking oil where people use bikes, motor cycles (commonly known as Kabaza) and cars through uncharted ways.

The smugglers ship in items at an area called “New Port” which connects Malawi and Mozambique. At New Port the traders buy items from a Mozambican area called Mwanyanje which gets commodities from Maputo.

One of the smugglers, Yamikani Mwate from Mulanje, said they have settled for smuggling items as the commodities were cheaper in Mozambique than in Malawi.

“It is better to take the risk of smuggling items rather than ordering from Malawi company’s. Imagine we buy a 50kg bag of flour in Mozambique at K20 000 or less but here it cost above K23000.

“As for cooking oil we buy at 10 litres at K9 000 in Mozambique  while the same quantity here is sold at. So it is better to get a lot of items in Mozambique to sale at a profit,” he said.

His colleague added that they are hardly caught as patrols were rare.

“Even if we get caught it is easy to bribe officers or pay the fine. So if we take all the expenses into consideration it is better to get items such as flour, cooking oil and cigarettes from Mozambique,” he said.

He colleague Thokozani Chikakuda said Malawian products were of higher quality but expensive.

“To be honest our [Malawian] flour and cooking oil are better but people do not buy because they are expensive. This is why we smuggle such items to supply to the local market. For the cooking oil the situation has been made worse following the re-introduction of VAT on cooking oil,” he said.

In September last year Minister of Trade, Sosten Gwengwe, revealed that it was exploring deployment of Malawi Defence Force (MDF) soldiers in the country’s borders to curtail smuggling of goods into Malawi.

The statements came against a background of some private sector players claiming that the vice is impacting negatively on their business on the local market.

Gwengwe acknowledged to the local media that the problem was huge and that many local companies have logged complaints with the ministry.

He said promised to engage various security agents including the MDF and Malawi Police Service on tightening border security.

Recently Malawi Revenue Authority, in a statement promised to mount road blocks to check whether goods which have been cleared for export, import or are in transit are if all the necessary procedures were followed in accordance with the law.

Smuggling is the illegal importation or exportation of goods to customs control.

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Tizgowerengewaka Mughogho
Tizgowerengewaka Mughogho
6 months ago

Life is hard in Malawi. These traders have never tested any government allowance, any cashgate money, they do all they can to survive. Moreover every malawian is either directly or indirectly paying tax everyday.

mtete
mtete
6 months ago

At least it’s encouraging to learn from smugglers that Malawi products are generally of better quality.

Pablo
Pablo
6 months ago

A smuggler posing for a photo and giving out his name. Not so bright….

JONES
JONES
6 months ago

I see no reason as to why Malawians should be pursued over this smuggling. Life is tough for locals. They can not afford even a bar of soap.

Chisale
Chisale
6 months ago

The big problem with a lot of stuff being smuggled are counterfeits. They might be cheap but you gamble with your life, cigarettes, liquor.

Franklin's Justice
Franklin's Justice
6 months ago

As it is Evident the Smugglers them self are admitting that to BRIBE MRA and MDF and Security Agencies people is Very Easy
Corruption at its Highest Level in Malawi and This Chakwera and Chilma and Sleeping and there Ministers are Getting Good Bribes
As Even the Manufacturer of Commodities pay a Hefty Bribe to Ministers to Issue a Notification for Cancellation of VAT or Taxes
What a Bull Shit Govt we have in Malawi

Tan
Tan
6 months ago

A reflection of the state of the economy. If unchecked, companies will shut down and we will be jobless.

Phwisa
Phwisa
6 months ago

In Lilongwe this is not news as Burundians hire even 20 kabaza motor cycles who smugglers the items from Mozambique through Mitundu. These Burundians have promoted this kind of business. Zambian Chibuku, drinks are everywhere in Malawi through illegal importation. Surprisingly the MRA people are buying the same commodities in their locations and they want someone tip them. Nonsense!!!. The head of MRA is crueless!

Bembeke Dedza
Bembeke Dedza
6 months ago
Reply to  Phwisa

The head of MRA is Mr John Bizwik not Mr clueless .
Verify the name

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