The Cross Border Traders Association (CBTA) has welcomed government’s intention to establish a modern Inter Country market at Kasumbalesa Border post as it would enhance business transactions for small scale traders.
The association has also called on government to revise regulations on the issuance of border passes by Immigration officers to ease the movement of people and goods into the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to avoid people from crossing the border illegally.
Currently, Zambian Immigration officers only issue border passes to people from within a restricted radius while others have to use passports or travelling documents, a trend that forces some small scale traders to use undesignated routes and getting into conflict with the law in the DRC.
This came to light when Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Industry Director for Domestic Trade Ambassador, Albert Muchanga held a consultative meeting with various stakeholders at Kasumbalesa Border regarding the construction of an Inter Country Market.
The Traders led by Kasumbalesa Branch Chairperson Raphael Chingeleshi said small scale traders who stern from various parts of the country to trade at the border where edible products have a ready market in the neighbouring DRC were faced with many challenges due to lack of a proper market.
The only market under the local authority has limited space forcing traders to operate in undesignated areas under difficult circumstances.
Among the challenges that the traders cited was the poor security situation as traders are robbed of their commodities and finances during the course of their business as well as the poor sanitation situation which could result in disease outbreaks.
Other challenges that were cited were the lack of adequate storage and lodging facilities, lack of banking facilities, the language barrier when transacting with people from the DRC as well as the lack of understanding of exchange rates which leads to some traders being swindled by middle men.
The traders said the establishment of the Inter country market would help in addressing the challenges as traders’ activities would easily be monitored unlike the current situation where people trade from the streets.
And Ambassador Muchanga assured the traders of government’s willingness to help address their challenges while urging them to adhere to all local authority and national regulations during the course of their business.
Ambassador Muchanga urged the traders to formalize their businesses to access credit facilities from government to enhance their businesses unlike subletting shops to foreigners once the inter country market is constructed.
Ambassador Muchanga and his entourage are touring various border posts in the country with the view of establishing Inter Country Markets at border posts with the highest trade potential.