Kasumbalesa strike worries Zambia Consumer Association (ZACA

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MOST stakeholders have expressed concern at the just-ended protest by international truck drivers at Kasumbalesa border in Chililabombwe and have called for a permanent solution to avoid losing business.
Zambia Consumer Association (ZACA) and Zambia Chamber of Commerce Trade and Industry (ZACCI) are worried at the action that prolonged for more than six days at the border.
Speaking in an interview in Lusaka, ZACA executive secretary Muyunda Ililonga said the action could have affected consumers through the shortage of goods.
“It is imperative that member states resolve security problems as Zambia is used as a conduit of trade for other countries.
So we fear that if the issue is not addressed, it might lead to shortage of goods which might affect consumers,” Mr Ililonga said.
He also said that in the interest of continued flow of trade among Southern African Development Community member states, it is key that security concerns are quickly addressed so that trade is normalised.
Similarly, ZACCI president Geoffrey Sakulanda said the association is deeply worried by the situation at Kasumbalesa border where international truck drivers parked their trucks carrying various goods destined for the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Mr Sakulanda said “we are concerned that this situation continues to escalate despite numerous assurances that it would be resolved.”
He said in a statement released in Lusaka yesterday that the DRC is one of the key markets for the Zambian products and if the situation is not resolved, the nation and businesses will incur losses.
“Right now, the situation at the border post is a huge cost to the business community who are exporting to the DRC and to the nation,” he said.
He urged the government to quickly engage the DRC counterparts to resolve the matter.
“As a private sector, we need a permanent solution to this problem before we continue losing business in Zambia and entire SADC region.
This situation is making it difficult for business to harness the market potential for our products in the DRC,” he said.
He said the three kilometers of parked trucks carrying various goods is a serious halt in business activities between Zambia and the DRC and is affecting the entire region.
“We also appeal to the truck drivers to remain calm as the government tries to resolve the matter with their Congolese counterpart,” he said.
The demonstration by the truck drivers at Kasumbalesa border in Chililabombwe prolonged last week with transporters vowing not to cross into the DRC due to security reasons.
Over 1,000 trucks were marooned on the Zambian side as a result of the protest last week, but have since called off the protest.

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