Leonard Ncube, Victoria Falls Reporter
THE Ministry of Industry and Commerce has embarked on a countrywide campaign to engage stakeholders in border towns on the implementation of the One Stop Border Post concept.
Zimbabwe and its neighbours agreed to establish the OSBP meant to ensure travellers access all ports of entry services centrally at any given border.
This means that staff from both countries will be stationed at one post and serve travellers at the entry point. The model has been operationalised at Chirundu Border Post between Zimbabwe and Zambia.
On Monday, officials from the ministry held a workshop in Victoria Falls where heads of various Government departments and other stakeholders attended. Speaking at the occasion, Research and Consumer Affairs director in the Ministry of Industry and Commerce, Mrs Constance Zhanje, said Government had started engaging Zambia with the view of implementing a OSBP in Victoria Falls next year.
“We have come to Victoria Falls because it has been declared one of the borders we have to make a One Stop Border Post. The border posts that have been identified include Victoria Falls, Plumtree, Beitbridge and Forbes Border post in Mutare as well as Chirundu, which is already operational,” she said.
Mrs Zhanje said attorney generals from Zambia and Zimbabwe were already seized with the draft legal framework, with responsible ministers expected to append their signatures before the end of the year, paving way for implementation next year.
Zimbabwe and Zambia successfully put to test the concept at the Victoria Falls border in 2013 during the United Nations World Tourism Organisation General Assembly. The OSBP has economic benefits and is expected to ease congestion at border posts by cutting time spent especially by travellers and transporters thereby cutting costs as well as facilitating efficient trade in the region.
Mrs Zhanje said the concept can be readily sampled and what was needed was upgrading infrastructure at the country’s border posts.
“We have to include stakeholders to make people aware. As part of the process we have met with our counterparts in Zambia and the train is already moving hence we are only waiting for the legal framework so we can start. Currently travellers go through similar processes on either side of the border whereas with the OSBP one will be cleared on one post by agencies from both countries thereby cutting time and cost,” she explained.
Beitbridge Border Post is the busiest port of entry in Sub Saharan Africa hence the creation of the OSBP would result in huge rewards for the region as well as achieve seamless flow of human and vehicular traffic.
The concept of OSBP has been failing to fully take off due to inadequate infrastructure with stakeholders calling for integration of various aspects to ensure the concept includes human resources.
The team will be in Plumtree today followed by Beitbridge on Friday before moving to Forbes in Mutare next week.