By KENNEDY MUPESENI-
FORMER Commerce, Trade and Industry minister Felix Mutati has called for increased bilateral trade relations between Zambia and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
Mr Mutati said the trading activities between Zambian Small and Medium Entrepreneurs (SMEs) and those from DRC would increase.
In an interview in Lusaka, Mr Mutati said DRC offers a lot of export opportunities for SMEs in the country hence the need for the
Government to forge bilateral trade relations to strengthen trade between the two neighbouring countries.
“We need to find solutions to strengthen the weak Kwacha, and one of the solutions is to look at strengthening trade with DRC by relaxing trade rules and formalising trade,” he said.
Mr Mutati who is on a panel of Common Market for Eastern and
Southern Africa (COMESA) Council of Elders said having strict export
rules and regulations was affecting trade especially for SMEs from
the two countries.
He said the country needed to strengthen the agriculture sector especially the marketing of the produce.
Mr Mutati said Zambia had a lot of agriculture products which if exported could earn a lot of foreign exchange which could in turn strengthen the local currency.
He urged the Government to implement the e-voucher system to solve most of the challenges smallholders farmers faced in procuring farming input in Zambia.
Mr Mutati said the e-voucher system could solve the challenges cotton
farmers had continued to face in the country.
He said the system could allow a lot of players in the marketing and purchasing of crops like cotton at competitive prices.