GOVERNMENT is targeting to implement the one-stop border post concept at all of the country’s ports of entry within the next five years to enhance customs clearances and trade facilitation, an official has said.
BY MTHANDAZO NYONI
Zimra commissioner-general Faith Mazani
Giving her welcome remarks in Victoria Falls last week, Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) commissioner-general Faith Mazani told delegates at the International Customs Day celebrations that the concept was at the centre of the tax authority’s five-year strategic plan, which will run until 2023.
“Some of the highlights of this plan include the operationalisation of the smart-border concept through the implementation of the one-stop border concept on a number of our border posts, with Victoria Falls becoming the first beneficiary,” Mazani said.
“This would then be followed by Kazungula, Forbes, Beitbridge (virtual OSPB), and Plumtree. So, these developments are being driven by the important successes we have scored after having implemented the project at Chirundu One-Stop Border Post, which happened to be the first one of its kind in Africa at the time,” she said.
The purpose of OBSP is to reduce delays at the border posts.
Mazani said they were mindful of the job at hand, as they sought to see a smooth movement of human and vehicular traffic at the country’s border posts.
“To this effect, I am proud to intimate to you that the Electronic Temporary Import Permit project (e-TIP) has been so successful in dealing with the issue of border congestion at Beitbridge Border Post during this past festive season,” she said.
The project has allowed travellers to pre-clear their vehicles online, thereby reducing the congestion, which often worked as a bottleneck to travellers and tourists.
“We are now working at improving the e-TIP system so that visitors will spend an average of between three to five minutes to get their temporary import permits processed. This will enhance efficiency, but also allows a more prompt movement of our visitors, thereby enhancing our country’s tourism sector,” Mazani said.
She said the rolling out of the automated system for customs data world had enabled clients to submit bills of entry online from anywhere in the world, such that they are not obliged to be in a certain area to make their transactions.
Similarly, the e-services portal, which Zimra deployed, has also brought considerable convenience to clients as they now could apply for tax clearance certificates online and carry out other Zimra-related processes remotely, she said.