Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Industry (MCTI), Director of Foreign Trade Yvonne Chileshe, says the ministry attaches great importance to the Diagnostic Trade Integration Study (DTIS), as an important tool for national planning and providing the interface between trade policy and other policy tools such as investment and manufacturing.
She was speaking at the half day pre validation meeting for Zambia’s DTIS, being reviewed by the World Bank. The DTIS is a tool for identifying a country’s trade related priorities and challenges while also outlining an action matrix for addressing those challenges. The meeting brought together stakeholders from Government ministries and agencies, civil society, the private sector and the media to discuss specific draft chapters of the DTIS for Zambia. The draft chapters under discussion were the informal Cross Border Trade (ICBT) chapter and trade facilitation and logistics chapter.
‘’The DTIS is also important because Zambia has a lot of trade related needs but very limited resources, thus prioritization to achieve maximum impact is critical, ‘’she said.
She highlighted the importance of informal trade, agriculture and trade facilitation in Zambia’s efforts towards diversification, reducing transaction costs to support trade expansion and improving livelihoods.
Preliminary recommendations from the informal trade chapter by Nora Dihel, Senior Trade Economist, Word Bank and John Keyser, Senior Agriculture Trade Economist, highlights the need for reforming aspects of the Simplified Trade Regime (STR) between Zambia Malawi and Zimbabwe, Creation of a charter for cross border trade and improved monitoring of border crossing.
On the other hand, preliminary recommendations on the chapter on trade facilitation by Charles Kunaka, Senior Trade Specialist at the World Bank and Trevor Simumba, International Economic Consultant, highlights the need for Zambia to, define a clear national logistics strategy and consider strategic participation in logistics markets. From the regional perspective, the paper recommends the adoption of a proactive approach to regional cooperation among others.
And speaking at the same meeting, World Bank Lead Economist, Praveen Kumar, advised that there was need for the study on informal cross border trade to define what “informal trade” so as to bring into context the exact players the study was referring to.
Whilst agreeing with the latter point, CUTS International Lusaka Centre Coordinator, Simon Ng’ona advised that, there was also need to look at how the DTIS can promote a productive co-existence of formal and informal trade.
And commenting on the draft chapter on trade facilitation and logistics, Ng’ona advised that there was need to strengthen some analysis in some sectors and ensure that most of the key important issues which were raised in the body of the document should appear in the recommendations.
He further cautioned that, the DTIS should not only focus on short, medium and long term challenges but also more importantly look at immediate term bottlenecks to private sector growth anticompetitive tendencies – especially in the transport logistic sector.
In the same line, Dominic Chanda, Senior Economist, Zambia National Farmers Union said that the analysis of the challenges in trade facilitation and logistics that the country was facing also ought to take into account the cartels that exist in the transport sector.