ARTHUR MWANSA, Lusaka
ZAMBIA and Malawi have signed a double taxation avoidance agreement (DTAA) to boost trade and investment and facilitate capital flows between the two countries.
The two countries have also agreed to hold the 16th session of the Zambia/Malawi joint permanent commission (JPC) of co-operation in Lilongwe in 2019.
Minister of Foreign Affairs Harry Kalaba signed on behalf of the Zambian government, while his Malawian counterpart Francis Kasaila signed for his government.
Speaking yesterday after signing the agreement and closing of the two-day 15th JPC, Mr Kalaba said he is happy that the two countries have also agreed to sign several agreements in areas such as immigration, local government, tourism, agriculture, livestock, labour and employment, health, science and technology.
â€œI wish to urge our two sides to remain focused and realise the implementation of these instruments to ensure benefits trickle down to the people at the grass-roots level,â€ he said.
Mr Kalaba said it is gratifying that during deliberations of the JPC, the two countries set targets and time frames for executing decisions of the commission.
â€œI am pleased that our two sides have established a mid-term review follow-up mechanism to monitor and evaluate progress in the implementation of agreed areas of cooperation,â€ he said.
Mr Kalaba said the mid-term review will ensure hurdles and bottlenecks which impede the efficient and speedy implementation of decisions of the commission are identified early and remedial measures taken in good time.
Mr Kasaila said the DTAA will ensure investors are not taxed twice on the same income.
â€œThe agreement will promote investment between our two countries as it will reduce the cost of doing business,â€ he said.
Mr Kasaila said the agreement on tourism has also been finalised and is ready to be signed.
He said the agreement on the one-stop border post is also ready, and will be signed soon.
Mr Kasaila said once signed, all these agreements will be milestones between Zambia and Malawi.
Meanwhile, Mr Kasaila is pleased that since the launch of the simplified trade regime (STR), trade between Malawi and Zambia has continued to grow, especially for small-scale businessmen and women.
Mr Kasaila urged the private sector to continue taking advantage of the trade investment opportunities that exist in the two countries.
He said this on Wednesday during the opening of the JPC.
â€œIt is through trade that we can make our people become economically empowered and improve their living standards,â€ Mr Kasaila said.
COMESA implemented the STR to help small-scale traders benefit from the preferential rates enjoyed by commercial traders when importing or exporting goods within member states.
The regime is operational between Zimbabwe and Zambia, and Zimbabwe and Malawi.
Mr Kasaila left for his country yesterday after his two-day working visit.
ARTHUR MWANSA, Lusaka