By Business Reporter
NAMIBIA and Zambia have agreed to expedite discussions on the establishment of the One Stop Border Post because of the trade benefits that will accrue to the two countries and the region at large, Sydney Chibbabbuka, Commissioner Customs Services, Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA) has said.
Chibbabbuka was speaking at the second Zambia/Namibia Bilateral Technical Committee meeting for the establishment of Katima Mulilo’s One Stop Border Post (OSBP), which was held in Katima Mulilo recently.
The meeting was aimed at discussing and reviewing the draft OSBP agreement, Terms of Reference (ToRs), Joint Operational Manuals and the progress made by the committee on actualising several activities, such as legal instruments and infrastructure facilities, arising from the first meeting held in February 2019.
Also speaking at the meeting, Willboard Poniso, interim Head of Customs of Namibia Revenue Agency (NamRA), said the meeting also aimed at reaffirming the resolution of the Joint Permanent Commission of Cooperation (2013) to establish an OSBP at Katima Mulilo Border Post. He further encouraged the committee to benchmark from Zambia who have successfully implemented OSBP at their major border posts at Nakonde, Chirundu and Kazungula.
The OSBP concept seeks to remove trade facilitation bottlenecks by ensuring efficient and timely movement of people, goods and services at borders. The establishment of a OSBP at Katima Mulilo would enhance procedural, and operational efficiencies by eliminating duplications such as physical inspections, as trucks carrying cargo would only stop once as opposed to the traditional two stops border posts.
WBCG consultant on the WBNLDC cluster secretariat, Eric Shimumbwe, stated that in addition to the establishment of the OSBP, the upgrading of the Katima Mulilo border infrastructure remains a top priority as well as the rehabilitation of the 100 kilometres Sesheke-Kazungula road, which is in a dilapidated state.
“It would be a dream come true if development partners such as the African Development Bank and World Bank could support these two projects in the same way they supported the expansion of the Walvis Bay port, Kazungula Bridge and OSBP facilities. The support for these two bankable projects would enhance trade, transport and logistics as well as bridge the regional infrastructure deficit, while also enhancing regional infrastructure integration,” added Shimumbwe.
The meeting which was co-chaired by the two heads of delegation Poniso and Chibbabbuka, was well attended by representatives of the government ministries, security and border agencies from both countries. The meeting was co-sponsored by the WBCG and NamRA.