By PETER SICHALI
A DECISION by Government to suspended entry of In Transit (IT) vehicle through the Nakonde border to curb the spread of corona virus, has sparked protest from clearing agents who anticipate increased costs.
Muchinga Province acing Permanent Secretary, Jonathan Ng’onga, said the decision was as a result of increase in the number of covid-19 cases in Tanzania, but clearing agents have warned that the longer vehicles stayed in Tanzania pending clearance the more expenses they would incur.
Vehicles designated as IT, are imported from Japan and dock in Dar-es-salaam in Tanzania before they are driven into the country.
“In view of the tremendous increase of the number of Covid-19 cases Tanzania has recorded, it has become imperative that some stringent measures are applied,” Mr Ng’onga said.
He said the 14 mandatory quarantine period would be implemented for people crossing the border at their own cost.
But Nakonde Clearing Agents Association Chairperson, Steven Chileshe said the suspension of entry of IT vehicles through the Nakonde will not affect revenue collection by the Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA), but impose additional costs on importers.
He said the move would cripple business at the border including clearing and insurance.
Mr Chileshe said Government should instead disinfect vehicles on the Tanzanian side and allow them through to the border so that Zambian drivers could deliver the vehicles to their destinations.
“We wish to appeal to Government to allow IT vehicles to enter the country after disinfection as complete suspension will negatively affect the economy and lead to loss of revenue for both ZRA and clearing agents,” Mr Chileshe said.
Mr Chileshe said truckers were more likely to spread Covid-19 as compared to IT vehicles because they spend more days on the road with multiple stations.
“We feel trucks that have been allowed to continue entering the country through the Nakonde are even more likely to spread the disease because drivers spend more time on the road from Dare-salaam to Nakonde with multiple stations, but IT vehicles only spend one to two days,” he said.
Mr Chileshe said suspension of entry of IT vehicles would result in increased expenses such as parking fees and other fees on the Tanzanian side.
By PETER SICHALI