Grain traders want electronic export permits


By Nation Reporter

THE Grain Traders Association of Zambia (GTAZ) has appealed to the Ministry of Agriculture to consider electronic export permits to speed up the process of obtaining certificates and reduce the waiting list for exporters.

The association representative, Michael Schidt, said on the side-line interview at the Zambia Development Agency (ZDA) exporter audit result dissemination in Lusaka that it took about 3 days for an export permit to be granted from the ministry.

Mr Schidt, who is Zolenakie Commodities director-which is part of the association, said introducing an electronic permit system for obtaining an export permit was needed.

“If you have 10 companies exporting a thousand of maize at a time, you get delayed because everything is still manual.

“Making it electronic will speed up the whole process of obtaining permit and making everything in line and streamline the process to export products especially when we have surplus,” he said.

He explained that obtaining the permit sometimes went beyond 3 days especially if the permanent secretary from the ministry was out of town to sign the permit due to his busy schedule.

“The electronic system will enable you work with barcodes, border scans the barcode on the certificate, and we have about US$45 million worth of maize stock for export as grain traders,” he said.

Mr Schidt said the association had 160 tonnes of maize for 2o15 crop ready for export once the Government opened the borders.

He, however, commended the Government for not allowing exports for now because Zambia first had to be food secure before feeding her neighbours.

“From the private sector, it’s a good decision to ban the export of maize because Zambia has to be food secure first, and this is key for the country,” he said.