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COMESA, ZRA launch virtual trade facilitation system

Zambia Daily Mail, Lusaka

COMESA, ZRA launch virtual trade facilitation system

6 May 2015

By Kalonde Nyati, Lusaka

Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) and Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA) have launched the COMESA virtual trade facilitation system (CVTFS) aimed at tracking the movement of cargo to curb illicit trade.

The project is part of a grant agreement from the European Union regional integration support mechanism programme (RISM) worth 11.4 million euros aimed at supporting technical capabilities of COMESA and member states.

Speaking at the launch yesterday, Minister of Finance Alexander Chikwanda said the project will integrate existing trade systems and other technologies to ensure transparency and control in the movement of national and international cargo.
The initiative will also provide effective solutions for cargo tracking management.
“The initiative will assist the private and public sector organisations in Zambia and other participating states to manage and monitor the process of movement of their general, dry and bulk liquid cargos in an effective and efficient manner and in real-time to reduce the cost of doing business in the sub-region.”

Zambia continues to use COMESA instruments to improve trade facilitation in the region. Although these programmes have contributed to reducing the cost of doing business, challenges still persist,” he said.

Mr Chikwanda cited cargo dumping, loss of goods during transist, pilferage and diversion of goods in transit as some of the challenges affecting effective trade saying the CVTFS will address the challenges.

The facility will be accessible to, among other stakeholders, customs, freight forwarders, insurance companies, banks, port authorities.

Earlier, ZRA commissioner general Berlin Msiska said the development will ensure efficiency and accountability in the movement of goods in the country.

Mr Msiska said the move will also improve tax administration in the country.