Outline of the system
The import licensing system is regulated by the Control of Goods (Import and Export) Act. The licensing system is administered by the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Private Sector Development.
The following products shall require an Import Licence obtained from the Ministry of Industry and Trade to be imported into Malawi in accordance with the provisions of the Control of Goods Act, Chapter 18:08 of the Laws of Malawi:
(vi) Compound products containing flour, meal residues and other preparations of any kind suitable only for use as animal foodstuffs and excluding the following:
- Chemical additions to animal foodstuffs;
- Antibiotic growth stimulants;
- Inert fillers;
- Trace elements;
- Synthetic animal foodstuffs;
- Bird seed; and
- Cat and dog foods., meat and meat products, kitchen and table salt, dieldrin, aldrin and livestock products;
(vii) Eggs of poultry;
(viii) Live poultry;
(ix) Meat products including dressed poultry, is prohibited without prior permission in writing from the Minister of Industry and Trade. The Minister has, however, exempted the following from import licensing:
- All tinned meat;
- All potted meats;
- Meat soaps;
- Edible meat fats;
- All cooked or cured meats other than cooked pork, ham and bacon; and
- The importation of all animals and other animal products require to be certified as free from disease before importation;
(xii) Kitchen and table salt;
(xviii) Agricultural products: Soya beans and its products, cotton lint and all other forms of cotton products, oil seeds, grain of any variety, maize and maize products, sorghum, fruits and vegetables; and
(xix) Livestock products (hides and skins)
Nature of licensing
If Automatic, administrative purpose
If Non-Automatic, description of the notified Non-Automatic Licensing regime
Products under restriction as to the quantity or value of imports
There are no quantitative restrictions on either system.
Questions for products under restriction as to the quantity or value of imports
Malawi does not maintain a quota system on imports.
The system applies to products originating from which country?
The system apply to goods originating from all countries.
Expected duration of licensing procedure
The import licence is issued within 7 days upon receiving the application. The licence is valid for six months and can be extended for another six months with satisfactory reasons.
Is the licensing statutorily required?
The licensing system is a statutory requirement for reasons of public health, security and environment.
Does the legislation leave designation of products to be subject to licensing to administrative discretion?
Is it possible for the government to abolish the system without legislative approval?
Eligibility of applicants
Is there a system of registration of persons or firms permitted to engage in importation?
What persons or firms are eligible to apply for a licence?
Persons, firms and institutions that fulfil the statutory requirements pertaining to the importation of a specific product can import.
Is there a registration fee?
Is there a published list of authorized importers?
Contact point for information on eligibility
The Principal Secretary, Ministry of Industry and Trade
P.O. Box 30366, Lilongwe 3, Malawi
+265 1 770 244; +265 1 770 290
+265 1 770 680
Submission of an application
Administrative body(ies) for submission of an application
The Ministry of Industry and Trade is the main administrative body for issuance of import licences
What information is required in applications?
The following information must be provided by the importer:
- Name of applicant;
- Product to be imported;
- Specifications of product; and
- Pro forma invoice.
What documents is the importer required to supply with the application?
The documents vary depending on the type of product.
Window of submission of an application
How far in advance of importation must application for a licence be made?
Are there any limitations as to the period of the year during which application for licence can be made? If so, explain
Licences can be applied for throughout the year.
Issuing the license
Can a licence be granted immediately on request?
Licences can be applied for throughout the year.
Can licences be obtained within a shorter time-limit or for goods arriving at the port without a licence
Upon fulfilment of other statutory requirements, licences are issued on the spot.
Which administrative body is responsible for approving application of licences?
The importer has to approach one administrative organ.
Must the applications be passed on to other organs for visa, note or approval?
Are there any other conditions attached to the issue of a licence?
Where applicable, other administrative procedures may entail health certificates in the case of food products and the management of the products in the case where there are environmental concerns.
Fees and other administrative charges
Is there any licensing fee or administrative charge?
There is no administrative fee upon the issuing of a licence.
What is the amount of the fee or charge?
Is there any deposit or advance payment required associated with the issue of licences?
There is no requirement for any deposit or advance payment associated with the issuing of a licence.
Amount or rate?
Is it refundable?
What is the period of retention?
What is the purpose of this requirement?
Refusal of an application
Under what circumstances may an application for a licence be refused other than failure to meet the ordinary criteria?
Are the reasons for any refusal given to applicants?
An applicant is informed of reasons for refusal.
Have applicants a right of appeal in the event of refusal to issue a licence?
An applicant has the right to appeal.
If so, to what bodies and under what procedures?
Are there any limitations as to the period of year during which importation may be made?
What documents are required upon actual importation?
The import licence serves as an authority allowing an importer to import. Where an import licence gives conditions pertaining to health, an appropriate health certificate is also needed upon importation.
Are there any other administrative procedures, apart from import licensing and similar administrative procedures, required prior to importation?
Other than import licensing, Malawi does not maintain other administrative procedures upon importation.
Conditions of licensing
What is the period of validity of a licence? Can the validity be extended? How?
An import licence is valid for three months and the validity can be extended.
Is there any penalty for the non-utilization of a licence or a portion of a licence?
There is no penalty for non-utilization of a licence or a portion of a licence.
Are licences transferable between importers? If so, are any limitations or conditions attached to such transfer?
Licences are not transferable.
Is foreign exchange automatically provided by the banking authorities for goods to be imported?
The foreign exchange regime is liberalized such that no licence is required as a condition to obtain foreign exchange.