By Topsy Sikalinda
The Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA) is ready to take up the Kazungula Challenge.
The new border post is ready for the official opening in the month of May 2021. On 27th April 2021, the Zambia Government and the Botswanan Government signed the operationalization agreement for the One Stop Border Post (OSBP).
Recently, the Zambia Revenue Authority Commissioner General Mr. Kingsley Chanda visited the facilities and revealed that all systems on the part of the Authority are ready to start the operations immediately after the official opening because all systems, processes, procedures, and people are all ready to take up the challenge.
He further revealed that the Authority will move its regional customs command centre from Livingstone to Kazungula.
The new facilities are expected to improve trade facilitation procedures and reduce transit time about two (2) to seven (7) days will be reduced to about two (2) hours. The current system used pontoons which are slow hence the increased dwell times at the border.
Other benefits include improved border management cooperation with the One Stop Border Post (OSBP) procedure of just stopping on one side for clearance procedures. This will also increase traffic throughput and reduce the cost of transport and doing business generally.
The African continent is on a trajectory of speedy growth in trade in the past few years while intra-African trade has been slow due to low levels of trade facilitation and industrialization.
Many scholars and articles have recognized that obstacles to trade growth and competitiveness on the African continent were not the movement along major highways but time is lost at the ports, at borders, and checkpoints established along corridors of trade.
The OSBP concept requires that the legal and institutional framework are put in place to ensure that facilities, and associated processes and procedures that permit goods, humans, cargo, and vessels or vehicles to stop at one single point or facility and do all the clearance procedures to exit one country and enter the other country or state.
The Chirundu OSBP between Zambia and Zimbabwe is recognized to be the first fully functional OSBP on the African continent. It is gratifying to state that the lead consultant for this role model was Zambian and the current Commissioner General of the Zambia Revenue Authority at the time he was in the private sector.
Following the successful commissioning of the Chirundu OSBP, through the support of cooperating partners, the OSBP concept has expanded rapidly with the support of development partners as one of the major tools in improving trade facilitation and tackling impediments to the growth of the African trade environment.
The Kazungula project is divided into three parts namely; the Kazungula Bridge, One Stop Border Post in Zambia, and lastly One Stop Border Post in Botswana.
The OBSP has 27 buildings which the major ones are the passenger terminal, freight inspection, and scanner buildings. Other facilities include internal roads and security systems.
As the authority continues on its modernization agenda that began in 2016, the authority believes that innovation is holistic, product and process should both be included. A balance should also be done on both systems and physical infrastructure.
Recently, the Authority Launched its new buildings in Mongu and another new building in Chinsali has been completed and yet to be launched.
The Kazungula project is another huge milestone with support from the Zambian Government. In the Eastern part of the country, the new Mwami border post is almost complete and will also be commissioned.
The Zambia Revenue Authority is the lead border agency at Kazungula assisted by other border agencies such as Immigration, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Mines, Zambia Compulsory standards Agency, Zambia Police, Road Transport and Safety Agency (RTSA), The Drug Enforcement Commission (DEC), Zambia Information Communication Technology Authority (ZICTA), Zambia Environmental Management Agency (ZEMA), Zambia Medicines Regulatory Authority among them. Most of these agencies are linked to one single platform called the single window.