Friday, November 27, 2020: COMESA and the government of Zambia have signed an agreement that sub-delegates the implementation of coordinated border management activities and trade and transport facilitation programme in three border posts in the country.
The sub-delegated activities are worth Euro 6,688,560 and will support upgrading of priority cross-border infrastructure and equipment at Mwami, Chirundu and Nakonde borders between Zambia on one hand and Malawi, Zimbabwe and Tanzania on the other.
This is part of a broader 48 million euros Trade Facilitation Programme (TFP), financed under the 11th European Development Fund (11 EDF) through a Grant Agreement signed between the European Union and COMESA in November 2018.
The TFP has five key result areas on deepening regional integration, improving inclusive regional economic growth and enhancing the competitiveness of the COMESA region.
Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Industry, Zambia, Mr. Mushuma Mulenga and COMESA Secretary General, Chileshe Kapwepwe separately signed the sub-delegation agreement in Lusaka last week.
Appreciating the EU and COMESA for the support, the PS said the interventions at the three border posts will enhance efficiency and ultimately reduce the cost of doing business.
“The desire of the Zambian Government is to build on current trade facilitation efforts through programmes such as the COMESA EDF 11 Trade Facilitation Project” he said. “The support is therefore, timely as Zambia grapples with the negative effects of the COVID-19 Pandemic.”
The Secretary General explained that the modalities of implementation of the sub-delegated activities envisage the beneficiary Member State taking ownership and lead in the implementation of the activities.
The delegated works which includes contracts, supplies and services are expected to be processed by the Member State with COMESA providing the necessary technical guidance. This will ensure that implementation takes place in line with the EDF procurement procedures.
“The benefits for sub-delegation are that the Zambia Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Industry and its agencies will improve its own systems. It is also an opportunity to upgrade the border infrastructures on the basis that the Ministry is best placed to understand the challenges and provide the best decision of mitigating these challenges,” she said adding that COMESA will facilitate financial, logistical and administrative processes.
The funds will also support capacity building for stakeholders on modern border operations and the implementation of information awareness campaign on customs cooperation and trade facilitation instruments among other deliverables.
The signing of the sub-delegation provides an opportunity to use the flexible measures in the application of EDF procurement procedures, considering the COVID19 challenges. This means that on a case by case basis, waivers will be considered to the Rules of Origin and Rule of Nationality as well as use of negotiated procedures for procurement instead of calling for tenders. This will enable fast-tracking some of the planned activities under the sub-delegation agreement.
By the end of the implementation period of the project, it is expected that clearance time and costs for passengers and goods processed through the border posts will be reduced. Likewise, the number of reported non-tariff barriers and cases of corruption and harassment will go down.
“We foresee increased collection of revenue through increased trade flows,” the SG projected.
The signing of the sub-delegation followed an assessment of existing challenges conducted at all three targeted border posts in early 2020.