COMESA traders cry foul

COMMON Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) Cross Border Association says the importation of goods by foreign traders from another country into Zambia, is creating unnecessary competition for local traders in the country.
The association feels that the third country importation has resulted in local cross border traders losing business, as some traders from COMESA member states buy goods from other countries where they do not originate from.
Association president Felix Daka said in an interview over the weekend that, “For example, traders from Zimbabwe will buy goods from Tanzania to sell in Zambia instead of taking them to their respective market.”
Mr Daka said Government needs to protect local cross borders traders as bringing in of such goods by foreign importers from other countries because some member states do not accept the practice.
“Other countries do not allow foreign traders to import goods from another country into their country because it creates unnecessary competition for the local traders. So why should Zambia allow it?” he said.
He said Government should also implement the Cross Border Act, which will regulate trade with the view of protecting local traders in the country.
Recently, the association proposed to Government to implement the Act.
Mr Daka also observed that some foreign traders are selling goods in markets meant for local traders and this disadvantages them because their foreign counterparts sell goods at a lower price.
“We need a system where markets are created specifically for international traders instead of flooding markets with the same goods being sold by locals,” he said.
Meanwhile, Mr Daka says plans are underway to upgrade COMESA market to modern standards and that negotiations with consultants are on-going, which will pave way for the project.
The upgrade of the trading centre will boost trade which is usually undermined in the rainy season due to lack of proper infrastructure.
He also said the association has acquired land in Nakonde and Solwezi to establish COMESA trading centres.

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