The Parliamentary Committee on Industry, Trade and Tourism chairperson Simplex Chithyola Banda has hailed the newly constructed Dedza One-Stop Border post (OSBP) as a huge step towards trade facilitation.
He said this during the Parliamentary Committee’s visit to the facilities on Tuesday 14 September 2022.
“This new border post is of great importance to the country because it will help to cut the clearance times allowing traders and travelers to save time while helping the Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA) to collect more revenue.
“This means that cross-border traders will no longer be required to stop on both sides of the countries for paperwork as it will be done under one roof by agencies from both countries”, Banda said.
“Today we have witnessed that these facilities are spacious with modern office spaces and modern equipment among others which will help to improve operations at the border thereby facilitating trade with neighbouring countries”, he said.
Banda also said these modern structures give the country’s borders a face-lift as they give the first impression of what people entering the country could expect.
He added that the operationalisation of the one-stop border post facility has been waiting for the law to legalise the working of foreigners in the facilities which Parliament recently passed the bill into law.
The Commissioner General for MRA Mr. John Biziwick also expressed similar sentiments to Banda saying the border will drastically improve the business processes at the border.
“This magnificent structure will help various government agencies not only MRA but all others including the Ministry of Agriculture, Department of Immigration, Department of Wildlife, The Malawi Police and Malawi Bureau of Standards to offer better services more efficiently”, he said.
“You may be aware that for so long, MRA has been operating from a very small office here at Dedza, a thing which has prevented us from operating efficiently, but this will soon be history”, he added.
Biziwick said as soon as the World Bank hands over the facility to the Malawi Government, MRA will start using its offices while waiting for the full roll out of the services after Mozambique replicates the facility on their side.
During a discussion after touring the premises, the committee members led by Hon. Ben Phiri, expressed their gratitude over the facilities but requested that the facilities should be equipped with good internet in order to facilitate the swift transfer of documents from one terminal to another.
Dedza is the second border where Malawi has completed its side of the one-stop border-post project after Mchinji OSBP in Mchinji.
The Dedza OSBP is an inter -governmental project implemented by partners from the integrated border management, including the Malawi, Zambia, Mozambique, Tanzania and other border control agencies.
An OSBP uses harmonised legal and institutional framework, facilities, and associated coordinated procedures and processes that enable goods, people, and vehicles crossing a border, to stop only once in the country of entry.
BY FUNSANI JOHN SCANDER