Govt. advises cross-border traders to stop smuggling
Ndola, March 28, 2013, ZANIS — Government has advised says Zambian cross border traders to be cautious about how they conduct businesses with other countries to avoid rifts.
Home Affairs Deputy Minister Stephen Kampyango says it was important for the local traders to ensure that they maintained the long lasting harmony between Zambia and the neighbouring countries.
Mr. Kampyongo said incidences such as mealie meal smuggling on the Copperbelt were incidences that might cause strife in the country and can spill over into the neighbouring countries.
“ As a nation, we are not ready to handle any riots that might be sparked as a result of food shortage in the country, “ he said.
Home Affairs Deputy Ministers Stephen Kampyongo and his counterpart at Ministry of Finance Elfrida Kansembe said the level at which mealie meal is being smuggled out of the country is alarming.
“Smuggling has been there before in this country but the scale at which it is happening now is worrying”, he said.
And his counterpart, Ms Kansembe has commended the police on the Copperbelt for what they were doing in curbing the problem of smuggling.
“We are delighted by what the police on the Copperbelt are doing and very soon we will be joining them to add to their works to ensure that what is going wrong is corrected”, Ms Kasembe said.
She said the illegal trade of maize and mealie meal is robbing the people of Zambia of their staple food and making it impossible to store adequate surplus.
The deputy ministers said this today when they paid a courtesy call on Copperbelt Provincial Permanent Secretary Stanford Mschili.
And Copperbelt permanent secretary Stanford Mschili has said it has not been easy as they are waiting the joint commission in Congo so that they can discuss the security problem between Zambia and Congo.
Police officers and other security wings recently intensified patrols in border points to curb the smuggling of mealie meal into neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Parliament heard recently.
As a result, a huge consignment of mealie meal was marooned in about 20 shops on the Zambian side at Kasumbalesa border post as shop owners locked and abandoned their premises following intensified Police patrols in Chililabombwe aimed at curbing smuggling.
Chiliabombwe District Commissioner Stuart Chitumbo has since appealed to the shop owners to avail themselves as they would only be allowed to sell their consignments at the government recommended retail prices in designated trading areas within Chililabombwe.
Mr Chitumbo who has been monitoring the mealie meal situation in the border town told ZANIS in an interview recently that the resolve by the Copperbelt Police Command to deploy over 100 senior officers to Chililabombwe had paid dividends in the fight against smuggling of the commodity.
He said some bicycles already loaded with mealie meal bags and believed to belong to Congolese nationals have also been spotted in some shops while the usually busy Kasumbalesa trading area is relatively calm as foreigners who smuggle mealie meal on bicycles using bush paths are no longer loitering around the premises as previously.