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President calls for Zambia-DRC warmer ties

PRESIDENT Lungu( second from left) listens to Zambia Revenue Authority commissioner general Berlin Msiska (second from right) during the tour of Kasumbalesa border post. Looking on is Copperbelt Minister Mwenya Musenge (left) and Chililabombwe Mayor Paul Kabuswe. - PICTURE: NKOMBO KACHEMBA

NKWETO MFULA, Kasumbalesa Border
PRESIDENT Lungu has urged Zambians and Congolese to continue co-existing to strengthen the cordial bilateral relationship between the two countries.
And business came to a stand-still at the border town of Kasumbalesa yesterday as people from different backgrounds lined the route of President Lungu’s motorcade to welcome him.
Meanwhile, the Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA) has collected K392 million through crossing fees at Kasumbalesa border with the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) since October 2012.
Mr Lungu said at Kasumbalesa yesterday that Zambians and Congolese are one people.
“Let us continue to co-exist and be law-abiding citizens. We have been peaceful and we should continue to live in harmony,” he said.
Mr Lungu said Kasumlabesa border post offers Zambians and Congolese an opportunity to do business and also exchange cultural values by visiting each other.
He told ZRA management to suggest measures that should be put in place to restrict and control the porousness of the border.
This was after ZRA director general Berlin Msiska informed President Lungu that the border is wide and porous.
“What measures do you think Government should put in place to control the area?” Mr Lungu asked.
Earlier, Mr Msiska said ZRA has collected K392 million in crossing fees at Kasumbalesa border since October 2012, when Government took over the running of the one-stop border facility from Zambia Border Crossing Company.
Mr Msiska said ZRA was collecting an average of K13 million per month at the border with K15 million collected in other types of fees such as trade taxes.
He said imports from DRC have declined by 45 percent while exports to DRC have increased by 22 percent.
Mr Msiska urged the government to allow the one-stop office to operate 24 hours a day to maximise on revenue collection and ease congestion.
Currently Kasumbalesa border is operational from 06:00 to 18:00 hours.
During President Lungu’s visit, business came to a virtual stand-still as people lined up along the road waving the Patriotic Front (PF) symbol in solidarity with President Lungu.

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