Thursday, November 08, 2007

Lutjens calls for effective trade promotion

Lutjens calls for effective trade promotion
By Kabanda Chulu
Thursday November 08, 2007 [03:00]

USAID Zambia deputy mission director Sheila Lutjens yesterday said Zambia should introduce simple and effective ways of promoting trade and reducing corruption at border posts. And Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA) Commissioner General Chriticles Mwansa said there was need to change the bureaucracy of red tape to a red carpet scenario in trade facilitation at border posts.

Officially launching a pilot project on Customs Accredited Client Programme (CACP) in Lusaka, Lutjens said Zambia’s largest trade operators would soon be able to import and export goods without undergoing costly inspections at border posts.

“The project will reduce border clearance time and operating costs for international traders hence allowing ZRA customs to fast track goods without compromising trade facilitation and security,” said Lutjens. “The CACP will eventually decrease congestions at the borders by 25 to 50 per cent and these are the kind of projects needed to be in place because there are simple, clear and are very effective in promoting trade and reducing corruption.”

And Mwansa said the CACP was a scheme that intended to recognise and reward compliance efforts by importers through the speedy facilitation of their consignments at borders based on their proven compliance track record.

“It is our intention to change the red tape bureaucracy to a red carpet scenario in trade facilitation at our border posts through products of this type and this differentiated treatment will result in a marked trade facilitation improvement of consignments for accredited clients who will only receive periodical post clearance audits as opposed to full physical checks,” said Mwansa.

“We hope the benefits to accredited clients will encourage compliance amongst non-accredited clients for them to come on board and in the long run promote a general improvement in trade facilitation, hence reducing the cost of doing business through speedy clearance of consignments.”

The ZRA in consultation with the United States International Aid Development (USAID) funded Zambia Threshold Project would carry out the pilot project to be implemented at Chirundu, Lusaka Port and Lusaka International Airport.

The CACP project will start with four large taxpayers’ institutions that signed a memorandum of understanding and these were CFAO Zambia, Konkola Copper Mines, Mopani Copper Mines and Zambian Breweries.

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