ZIMBABWE is engaging Zambia to establish the One Stop Border Post (OSBP) at Victoria Falls Border, with Bilateral Agreement and procedures manual being finalised.
BY FIDELITY MHLANGA
Industry and Commerce permanent secretary Abigail Shoniwa told the OBSP awareness workshop yesterday that the initiatives were being spearheaded by the Border Efficiency Management Systems (BEMS) technical Committee.
“I am delighted to inform you that the Border Efficiency Management Systems Technical Committee to date, has initiated engagements with Zambia towards the establishment of a OSBP at Victoria Falls Border and the proposed Bilateral Agreement and procedures manual are being finalised,” she said in a speech read on her behalf.
This comes after the just-ended Zimbabwe South Africa Bi-National Commission saw the two heads of States stressing the need to prioritise the implementation of a One Stop Border Post at Beitbridge.
“We have to move with speed to meet the aspirations of our leaders and business at large. It is, therefore, imperative that we continue to work as a team under the BEMS committee banner. The spirit of cooperation is important for the good of our country as a whole,” Shonhiwa added.
African Development Bank and International Organisation of Migration are providing the financial and technical support for the establishment of OSBP.
Other points of entry earmarked for the OSBP are Plumtree, Beitbridge, Forbes and Nyamapanda.
The purpose of OBSP is to reduce the number of stays incurred in cross border travel transactions by combining the activities of both countries border control agencies of single location in each director of travel.
OSBP trade facilitation and transport logistics legal expert, Francis Chirimuuta said the concept of an OSBP reduces the number of stops from the traditional two stops at a border to controls that are undertaken from one single control zone.
“In establishing one stop border stop you obviously need to take into account the critical elements of a one stop border post, firstly you will need a custom-build facility whereby you achieve seamless flow for users and agency officers also then need border management network whereby your ICT and data sharing is established between the agencies of one country and those of another country,” he said.
One of the key payoffs of a one stop border post is that it reduces times spend crossing the border which consequently reduce the cost of trade.
In Chirundu, commercial traffic reduced from time of over 120 hours in 2009 to about 25 hours by 2012 which had a ripple impact in that the cost of crossing the border was reduced.