Complaint number
NTB Type
2.2. Arbitrary customs classification  
Cross border trade was affected by the lockdown put in place under the COMESA COVID-19 Regulations implemented by Member States because of challenges the pandemic brought. While the COVID-19 Measures are welcome, the lockdown did not have other mechanisms which were put in place to cover the informal sector as majority of them are women who are also bread winners whose small savings and profits are meant for schools and general welfare of the family. As much as traders pay heed to COVID 19 regulations this does not substitute food on the table. Government appreciated movement of goods by trucks as a way of decongesting borders thereby small scale traders being marginalized.

COMESA SIMPLIFIED REGIME is a system done by COMESA Members States to simply trade for small trade players, in this Pandemic lockdown , why don't the Government allow small scale traders to organize themselves through CBTAs and COMESA TRADE INFORMATION OFFICERS to clear their wares in a simplified manner. Traders can send their money by wire transfer or MUKURU then goods are sent to the border and all the clearing formalities are done by the TIDO, the same way clearing agents are doing it. The current arrangement where only agents allowed to do clearances for cross border traders has increased their cost of doing business drastically as the the clearing formalities takes more time 3-4 working days from time when an entry is done where as the STR clearance through TIDO takes hours for a small consignment of $1000.00 STR threshold value and goods are released, goods which are on of eligible products  
Status note
COMESA Regional workshop for National Focal Points and NMCs held from 3-6 April 2023 in Rwanda made observation that this NTB was reported when there were travel restrictions due to the COVID- 19 pandemic and small-scale cross border traders were unable to clear their goods under the COMESA STR. Currently, there are no travel restrictions hence small-scale cross border traders are now able to clear goods under the COMESA STR.

In view of the above developments, this NTB is therefore resolved.  
Progress update note
On 29 July 2021, Zimbabwe Focal Point reported that they took note of the concerns raised by the small traders and in order for authorities to embrace the need for small traders to operate in the same way the clearing agents are doing, there is need for operational procedures to be put in place so that this can be implemented.In that regard, there is need for the small traders through their association to put a submission through higher authority so that operational procedures can be put in place in the same way the various operational procedures have been put in place to guide us in our operations during this Covid 19 pandemic taking note of the fact that consignments that are worth $1000 and above are supposed to be cleared through the Commercial desk.  
Policy or regulatory NTB
Zimbabwe: Chirundu (Government institution)  
Reporting Country or Region
Country specific trade issue
Date of incident
Date of resolution
Product Description
drinks, soap, biscuits , sweets, cotton wool

Total value
Date reported
2021-02-03 17:23  
2023-08-02 23:21