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Transparency in border procedures, operations critical, says ZIPAR

By KELLY NJOMBO
THE Zambia Institute for Policy Analysis and Research (ZIPAR) says if Zambia is to increase revenue collection, there is need for efficient transparency in border procedures and operations.
The institute is concerned that bureaucratic and inefficient border procedures encourage smuggling and corruption resulting in revenue losses for Government.
According to information posted on the ZIPAR website, Zambia has the potential to increase revenue collection through trade facilitation and that there is need to easy the importing and exporting of goods if the products are to be delivered on time.
“For a country like Zambia with a pressing need to improve revenue collection, it is imperative that our border procedures operate more smoothly and efficiently to ensure the optimal collection of revenue,” ZIPAR says.
ZIPAR notes that Zambia should expedite the movement to reduce the number of documents necessary for importing and exporting, release and clearance of goods.
It highlights that businesses risk losing customers due to late and unpredictable delivery of goods especially that exporters also incur losses for time-sensitive goods such as perishable agricultural produce and products.
ZIPAR, however, says Zambia stands to benefit from trade facilitation measures that will address factors affecting inland transit time as this is negatively hindering trade volumes.
Zambia has made some important strides in facilitating trade through the implementation of various initiatives such as the Chirundu one-stop-border post, the improved web-based customs handling and the introduction of scanning machines at border posts among other measures.
“Nonetheless, evidence shows that improving efficiency in border procedures expands trade and in turn, contributes to economic growth and revenue collection.
“Equally important for Zambia is that if inputs to production and finished goods can be imported and exported quickly and in a reliable time-frame, the country will become a more attractive destination for foreign investment,” the institute says.
It says trade costs are still high, therefore it is necessary to continue putting up efforts that will reduce trade costs, boost trade flows, hence increase revenue collection.
As a remedy, the institute suggests that Zambia can reduce trade costs by strengthening and broadening the already existing reforms.
Some of the factors that may affect the firms’ ability to meet specified delivery timelines of goods include the quality of roads and vehicles, efficiency of checkpoints, road blocks, accidents, and border waiting times among others.

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