SMUGGLING at Zambia’s Kasumbalesa Border with Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has decreased as more cross border traders now use designated entry points following the establishment and implementation of a trade information desk (TID).
This came to light on Thursday when Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) experts visited the post to check on the operations of the TID and to make a documentary of the facility to be used as a model in the region.
Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA) assistant commissioner-north Clement Mulenga told the COMESA team that the number of traders using customs entry points has increased.
“We are looking forward to the establishment of these TIDs under Simplified Trade Regimes (STR) in other border points,” he said.
Mr Mulenga said the cross border traders have realised that they paid more when using ungazetted routes as opposed to using legal entry points.
He said DRC was also making revenue from Zambian small-scale traders using designated entry points into that country. He, however, observed that traders from DRC were still not using designated entry points into Zambia.
“We are trying to talk to our colleagues in DRC on how best they can sensitise their people on the need to use customs entry points,” he said.
Zambia’s exports to DRC are manly agricultural products, sugar and cement.
Mr Mulenga commended COMESA and the Cross-Border Traders Association (CBTA) for the initiative of setting up TID.
Earlier, ZRA Kasumbalesa station manager Martin Chanda said the Bilanga area on the border, which was the main arena for smuggling, has fewer activities now.
And COMESA co=ordinator – Trading for Peace Adrien Ndayisaba said the Kasumbalesa TID will be used as a model in advancing simplified trade regime.
“We are documenting the TID corridor for it to be used as a model for other countries in the region,” he said.
Mr Ndayisaba said apart from Kasumbalesa TID, another TID has been established at Mokambo Border.
“COMESA has also established TIDs in other countries to promote trade among small-scale cross -border traders,” he said.
Mr Ndayisaba said the TID initiative will help sustain the community.
“The small-scale traders should be graduating from SMEs to medium scale and eventually large -scale businesses,” he said.