PRESIDENT Edgar Lungu has called upon Tanzania and Zambia border authorities to ensure that small scale cross border traders are accommodated, and assisted to conduct trade in a formalised manner as they implement the one stop border.
During the launch of the Nakonde-Tunduma One Stop Border Post (OSBP) facility in Tanzania, President Lungu said since the signing of the bilateral agreement on June 7, 2010, significant progress had been made towards establishing a one stop border post at Nakonde-Tunduma border.
President Lungu said commitment and tremendous effort had been made towards making the one stop border post operational.
He said currently, the one stop border post was being piloted for passenger traffic but yet to be operationalised for commercial traffic.
President Lungu said once this was done, the facility would facilitate efficient cross border trade.
“The Nakonde/Tunduma border is one of the busiest crossing points in southern Africa with an average traffic flow of 600 trucks per day. The border also facilitates trade along the Dar es Saalam corridor, and carries a volume worth millions of United States dollars. With improved infrastructure, and border clearance operations under the one stop border model, the border is handling higher traffic levels,” he said.
He said the coming together to facilitate the implementation of the one stop border would work towards improving competitiveness of the corridor, and increase trade volumes for the two countries.
President Lungu said the one stop border post would significantly reduce the time spent at the border from the current average of four days to one day.
He said in addition, the operation of the one stop border facility would allow for synchronised border procedures, which would ultimately promote border coordination making the shared border smart and efficient.
He said it was commendable that the two governments did not only take into account trade facilitation for large scale commercial users but also small scale cross border traders through the simplified trade regime which was signed in January 2017.
President Lungu said the simplified trade regime would enable people in the border communities of Tunduma and Nakonde to formalise cross border trade in agreed essential commodities, thereby creating more job opportunities and incomes for the people.
“I, therefore, call upon border authorities of our two countries to ensure that small scale cross border traders are accommodated, and assisted to conduct trade in a formalised manner as they implement the one stop border. The implementation of the simplified trade regime will, thus, ensure that no one is left behind, even as we apply smarter clearing procedures under the one stop border at Nakonde/Tunduma border post,” he said. “I wish to acknowledge the challenges that we are beset with in making the one stop border operational. These challenges include among others inadequate infrastructure, and will not end with this launch. In this regard, we need to ensure that work towards resolving such challenges continue.”
President Lungu said moving forward, he expected officers from both sides to continue with the already established structures at technical and ministerial levels to fully realise and maintain the benefits of the one stop border.