Integrated Border Management - Border Operations Assessment Mwanza / Zobue
AuthorMagdeline Mabue et al.
The high cost of exporting and importing goods to, from and within Southern Africa discourages international trade, makes commerce and industry less competitive and contributes to food insecurity. Some of the main contributors to the high cost of trade are delays at the border posts. The main aim of the IBM program is to reduce the time goods take to cross borders and therefore reduce the cost of trade. As one of the initial steps in the implementation of the IBM, SATH conducted a border operations assessment (BOA) at the Mwanza/Zobue border, a border between Malawi and Mozambique on 20 - 24 June 2011.
The primary purpose of the BOA was to analyze what the current border operations are with respect to clearance of commercial goods, with a view of making recommendations that would reduce the time and cost of transportation of goods and to set time baselines to assess the impact of IBM recommendations. In recognition of the critical role played by informal traders in the SADC region's economies, the border assessment also covered the clearance procedures of goods for small traders/ informal cross border traders (ICBTs).
The assessment involved interviewing both public and private agencies at Mwanza and Zobue borders to understand their roles and processes they follow in the clearance of commercial goods. Recommendations however are only made with regards to Mwanza border which is one of the borders identified by SATH for the IBM Project. To understand processes for clearance of goods for small traders, interviews with customs officials responsible for clearing small value consignments were conducted as well as randomly selected interviews with traders as their goods were being assessed. To establish time baselines, data collectors were used to record truck entry and exit times at the border or customs documents for trucks cleared while parked away from the border.
Findings of the BOA identified among others are the following:
- Uncoordinated work between border agencies leading to duplication of activities;
- Unharmonized working hours for border agencies within the border
- No sharing of information between border agencies
- Lack of facilities for remote filing by CFA results in long queues at the DTI hence delays the clearance process
- Lack of traffic segregation to fast track empty trucks, tankers, buses, or transit cargo
- Risk analysis profiles are not adhered to and as such almost all goods are inspected
- Lack of information by small traders on issues relating to agencies' processes and requirements, rebates, tariffs as well as trade instruments.
- Procedure for TIPs for commercial trucks requires physical examination of a truck
On average trucks entering Malawi from Zobue took 6 hours 35 minutes to cross the Mwanza border into Malawi. This time is inclusive of clearance time and any other miscellaneous delays. Commercial trucks exiting Malawi take an average of 3 hours 35 minutes to cross the Mwanza border and 19 minutes to cross Zobue into Mozambique.
Key recommendations from the BOA were to establish a Joint Border Committee (JBC) that includes representatives from public and private sector agencies and that a JBC Action Plan should be developed to address the identified challenges.
SATH, in collaboration with the Malawi Government (Ministry of Trade), will hold a national workshop as well as a workshop at Mwanza border to bring together key stakeholders in border operations to share with them the Border Operations Assessment findings. The findings and recommendations are inputs in the development of an Action Plan for the Joint Border Committee to be established to address challenges found, that will be implemented with assistance of SATH and other donors.