Six agencies partner to enhance coordinated border controls


Six border agencies have entered into agreements intended to delegate functions amongst themselves under the Coordinated Border Management (CBM) model.

The six agencies are the Zambia Revenue Authority, Immigration Department, Zambia Compulsory Standards Agency, Port Health, Department of Plant Quarantine and Phytosanitary Services and National Livestock Epidemiology Information Centre.

Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Industry Permanent Secretary, John Mulongoti, witnessed the signing of the agreements in Lusaka on Tuesday.

Delivering his speech, Mulongoti said government was implementing the CBM model with the aim of reducing border agencies physically operating at border posts.

He indicated that the CBM model would be piloted at Kazungula and Chirundu One Stop Border Posts starting January, 31, 2024.

“The policy decision to remain with only six agencies to operate at the border does not usurp the mandates for those leaving,” Mulongoti emphasized.

He stated that the delegation of functions was limited to those mandates that can only be undertaken physically at the border and all other mandates related to enforcement that can be done inland.

Mulongoti said mandates such inspection from inland and issuance of permits and certificates would remain with respective agencies as provided for in their respective Acts of Parliament.

“At the core of this initiative is the need to promote trade facilitation which result in improved trade and better welfare gains for both traders and consumers,” he stated.

Mulongoti noted that the demand for smooth coordination of the work of different regulatory agencies at the border was critically important.

He added that at the same time, government agencies, driven by the cause of trade facilitation, had also come to recognise the invaluable role that such coordination and cooperation play in efficient discharge of their individual and shared mandate as ‘gatekeepers’ of the border.

“As a steward of a nation’s trade, the Ministry is eager to play a meaningful role in ensuring that productive coexistence among border officials becomes the bedrock of their work,” the Controlling Officer said.

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Mulongoti emphasized that the CBM model was key in enhancing trade facilitation and its implementation comes at a time when government had placed high priority on the need to provideing a conducive business environment supportive to growth of the private sector as mentioned earlier.

He re-echoed the pronouncement made by President Hakainde Hichilema that government should work towards having in place Non-Stop Border Posts.

“This calls for us to re-double our efforts, embrace technology in customs management and enforcement, and ensure that the necessary soft and hard infrastructure is effective and in place to support our trade facilitation aspirations,” he said.

Mulongoti stated that the signing of the agreement, therefore signified tremendous progress towards implementation of the CBM model in the country.

In addition to the signing of the agreements, Mulongoti indicated that government needed to ensure that the national electronic single window system was fully operational.

“This will be the backbone for institutions operating inland to operate efficiently by viewing and intervening on consignments of their interest,” he noted.

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