Most of the challenges faced at the Nakonde, Mwami and Chirundu border posts that could not be addressed by government budget have reportedly been dealt with by the implementation of the Zambia Border Posts Upgrading Project (ZBPUP).
The €6.8 million ZBPUP project is being implemented by the Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Industry supported by the 11th EDF funded Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) Trade facilitation programme at the three border posts.
With the implementation of the ZBPUP, challenges such as inadequate signage at the borders, lack of office space for several border agencies, lack of internet connection and access to the Single Window for several border agencies as well as long dwell times at the borders had reportedly been addressed.
This is according to the ZBPUP Project Officer, Wilson Mazimba, in his presentation at a media training sensitisation workshop in Chipata on Tuesday.
Other challenges cited by Mazimba which had been addressed by the project were lack of simplified, standardised and harmonised processes as well as lack of harmonised operating hours.
On its achievements of the project, Mazimba pointed out that for Zambia, the ZBPUP had been critical since it had helped address challenges at the targeted border posts that could not be addressed by the Government Budget.
He mentioned other achievements to be: “capacity building training of border agencies has contributed to service delivery at the border but will need more trainings.
“Stakeholders have been given the opportunity to implement some of the project activities using their expertise e.g. Electronic Certificate of origin formulation of the legal framework and training of stakeholders being done by the Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA).”
Unsynchronised budget approvals among member states sharing borders to facilitate joint implementation activities was another achievement pointed out by Mazimba.
During his presentation, Mazimba also highlighted some of the challenges which had been faced during its implementation.
Among challenges identified were limited time frame to implement outstanding activities during the current project life cycle which was up to May 2024, lack of man power at project level and delay in disbursement of finances affecting project implementation.
“The onset of Covid-19 in 2020 and 2021 affected negatively the implementation of activities and led to the backlog of activities that are still pending;
“Ongoing and upcoming upgrade of hard infrastructure at Nakonde and Chirundu border posts causing uncertainties in the implementation of the ZBPUP activities,” he said.
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