The Ministry of foreign Affairs and International trade has launched a pilot short message service, a system built to help cross borders in alerting authorities of non-tarrif barriers.

The short message service facility  was launched in Chirundu, it  is aimed at providing a platform through which cross border traders can alert responsible authorities of non-tariff barriers that may be affecting the smooth flow of trade within the common market of eastern and southern Africa , comesa.

The platform is expected to benefit cross border traders and runs under the auspices of Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA).

An official with COMESA Vonesai Hove said  the  purpose of the platform is to improve the policy environment relating to trade

“The system is hosted in a gadget to be hosted by zimtrade. We will ensure that at all times we will be able to assist traders. The purpose is to improve the policy environment,” she said.

Zimbabwe Cross border traders association programs manager Eric Chikukwa hailed the SMS reporting system  on non-tariff barriers , saying his constituents  have  had numerous complaints for which they had no platform through which they could raise trade related concerns.

“Cross border traders have had several complaints but they had no way to have them heard by responsible authorities. The sms system will help members of the association raise complaints on barriers to trade,’’ said Chikukwa.

The general manager of the transport operators association of Zimbabwe, Wilfred Ramwi, whose association has been using the online platform to raise complaints on non-tariff barriers , said while the sms model is a good idea, there has always been gaps in implementation of such beautiful concepts.

“The idea is a noble one. But what we have problem with is the lack of implementation of such programmes. For example as an association, we raised  several non tarrif barroers using the online platform, but most of them were not resolved,’’said Ramwi.

An awareness campaign on the existence of the sms platform was held in chirundu targeting cross border traders and drivers.