The pace at which the construction of the new state-of-the-art Mchinji Border One Stop Post has excited vice president, Saulos Chilima, who has since urged all those involved in the project to make sure it is done by December.
Chilima was in Mchinji on Tuesday where, apart from touring the US$9 million facility being constructed with funds from the African Development Bank (AfDB) to smoothen cross border trade between Malawi and Zambia, he also toured construction of Mchinji Teachers College and had a closed-door meeting with the Mchinji District Council on the progress of public reforms.
According to Chilima, who is also minister responsible for public sector reforms, completing the project by December will enable President Lazarus Chakwera and Edgar Lungu, his Zambian counterpart, to open it.
“It will be a Christmas gift to the people of Malawi and Zambia,” said Chilima.
Once done, the modern border post will offer swift customs and immigration clearances as well as reduce time cross-border traders, travelers and truck drivers spend when having clearances at the border post.
“I am impressed with the job here; it is of high quality and of excellence. We hope this is not going to be a white elephant but be used to its maximum potential so that the money that has been spent on it is put to the intended use,” Chilima said.
Chilima urged Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA) who will be the preliminary managers of the facility to be paying a fee just as any permanent operator of the revenue making facility would do.
And, Trade Minister, Sosten Gwengwe, said the border post would complement the cross border business centre being developed close to the site to enhance formal trade between Malawians and Zambians.
He further said simplified border transactions on customs and immigration would reduce smuggling of goods that is rampant due to, among other factors, time spent on border clearances.
MRA Commissioner General, John Biziwick, has assured that MRA would take good care of the border facility.
He said, besides removing bottlenecks on border clearances, there would be new jobs created to manage it.
“Actually, the number of employees to manage this facility will double when it opens. We expect to open it in the next four months,” he said.
MRA said the full operations of the one-stop border post arrangement would wait for completion of a similar facility at the Zambian side.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :