The long-awaited commissioning of the Mchinji One Border Post will take place in June 2021, the Minister of Trade Sosten Gwengwe has confirmed the development in an interview with Nyasa Times.
The project was delayed due to coronavirus disease (Covid-19) preventive restrictions, which, among others, prevented Anhui Foreign Economic Group from importing construction materials from China.
On Tuesday, Gwengwe inspected the project whose completion level stands at 100 percent, with installation of office furniture being the remaining item before the commissioning of the facility.
The minister stated that President Lazarus Chakwera and his Zambian counterpart Edgar Chagwa Lungu will preside over the commissioning ceremony.
“The physical completion of the project is at 100 percent and that the government is currently procuring furniture to facilitate the commissioning of the facility to the public. The whole essence of the One Border Post is to enable cross-border traders to ply their businesses easier, quicker and cheaper. So, it’s all about efficiencies so that the cross-border traders do not take a long time to clear their goods at the border,” said Gwengwe.
He disclosed that the government is replicating the project in all the country’s border posts of Dedza, Mwanza and Songwe in Karonga.
However, the Principal Secretary (PS) in the Ministry of Trade, Christina Zakeyo, observed that currently, Malawi does not have the legal framework to regulate the operations of the one border post.
Zakeyo therefore appealed to the members of Parliament (MPs) to fast track the debate on the proposed One Border Post Bill currently in draft form.
In his remarks, the Chairperson for the Parliamentary Committee on Trade, Culture and Tourism Simplex Chithyola assured that his committee will facilitate the debate and passing of the proposed law when MPs meet in the next session.
The African Development Bank (AfDB) financed the Mchinji One Stop Border Post project to the tune of K7.1 billion.