FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Zambia Chamber of Commerce Trade and Industry (ZACCI), Southern Africa Cross Boarder Traders Association (SACBTA) and the Centre for Trade Policy and Development and Development (CTPD) would like to commend the Government of Zambia and Botswana on the milestone scored in the construction of the Kazungula Bridge, infrastructure development of that kind is critical to the realisation of ambitions under the Africa Continental Free Trade Initiative.
However, SACBTA, CTPD and ZACCI are greatly concerned with the proposed toll fees at Kazungula Bridge, we think the proposed fees will hinder trade and there is need to avoid application of exorbitant fees as these will become a deterrent to trade.
The Private Sector and Civil Society understands that Government’s intentions may be around enhancing resource mobilization. However, the proposed fees will result in increased supply chain expenses for goods and service traded through Kazungula. In addition, the proposed fees will result in increased illegal trade or reduced trade flows/volumes through Kazungula Bridge, we are concerned that with such new barriers, aspirations under the newly launched Africa Continental Free Trade Initiative may not be achieved. Our fear therefore is that traders will be faced with a choice to choose between the routes with high and low toll fees.
In the interest of trade facilitation, we attest that the Kazungula Bridge is a good opportunity to enhance trade between Zambia, Botswana and South Africa and our goal should be to ensure trade facilitation with less trade costs and the elimination of Non-tariff Barriers. It is, therefore, our position that Government should revise the fees in the interest of all Zambian cross border traders and transporters.
Jointly we implore Government to inform the nation on the criteria they used to determine the communicated fees and how consultative the process conducted was. For us, whatever the criteria were used, the fees are high and not in favour of trade facilitation amongst all traders. It is on the foregoing that we propose the following recommendations:
• The government should facilitate exhaustive stakeholder engagements between non-state actors in order to arrive at reflective fees that encompass all players especially small-scale cross border traders and transporters.
• Government should defer the implementation of the proposed toll fees until consultations are duly done and national consensus is reached.
Jointly issued by:
Centre for Trade Policy and Development
Zambia Chamber for Commerce and Industry
Southern Africa Cross Boarder Traders Association