Malawi, Zambia to start using one border in June

One border post

Minister of Trade, Sosten Gwengwe has  disclosed that Mchinji one stop border post building  would be commissioned in June, 2021.

Speaking when he visited the Mchinji One Border Post (OSBP) on Wednesday, he said he was impressed with the completion of the project saying the Ministry was waiting for equipment to be fixed in the building for it to be operational.

Gwengwe disclosed that the post was expected to be commissioned by the Presidents of Zambia and Malawi.

Chakwera, Lungu
Expected to inaugurate the building. Chakwera, Lungu

He said he was pleased with the progress made on the OSBP building which is at 100 percent saying the OSBP concept would be replicated in other border posts in Dedza, Mwanza and Songwe. 

“Effective trade facilitation systems including OSBP are one of the important panaceas of improving a country’s competitiveness. The Mchinji one border post will ease trade as it will bring together all the border agencies for improved efficiencies through streamlined, coordinated and harmonised operations,” the Minister said.

Gwengwe said once the OSBP is fully operational, crossing the border will be easier as exit and entry formalities are to be done simultaneously by officials of the two adjoining governments contrary to the current scenario where people stop twice on either border. 

“Malawi has prioritised operationalisation of OSBPs at Mwanza/Zobue; Songwe/Kisumulu; Dedza/Colomue; Muloza/Milanje; Mchinji/Mwami; and Chiponde/Mandimba Border Posts. 

Progress of implementation of OSBP at above mentioned borders is at different levels of development, where Mchinji is leading,” he added.

“Government is committed in undertaking trade facilitation reforms aimed at improving the overall business environment in the country and across the borders” he said,adding his ministry is entrusted with the coordination of all trade facilitation initiatives in the country, including OSBP.

Director of major projects for National Roads Project, Engineer, Samuel Kadangwe said the project was delayed due to travel restrictions imposed  by some countries due to Covid 19 pandemic.

“Due to the pandemic there was delay in transporting major equipment to Mchinji and this made work on the project to stall for some months, but we are glad that the project is now completed,” he said.

The Mchinji OSBP construction was commissioned in 2018 end and completion was expected in June 2020 but delayed due to a number of factors including Covid 19.  

The contractors handed over the facility in February, 2021.

One Stop Border Post (OSBP) Concept is a border facility that combines two stops of adjourning border controls into one. 

The Concept is aimed at reducing the number of stops and processes associated with cross border transactions to ease trade and movement of people.

Malawi and Zambia launched the OSBP joint project in April, 2015 in Chipata, Zambia where, among other things, the two countries agreed to put in place the legal framework and established joint OSBP implementation structures which included the Joint Technical, Joint Steering Committee and the Ministerial Committee to oversee implementation of the OSBP project. 

Mana/scm/ys/tha

 

Source:
Mana