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Alba Iulia
Friday, May 29, 2020

Government’s move to cut out Clearing Agents sparks protests

Economy Government's move to cut out Clearing Agents sparks protests

The one stop border post in Chirundu
The one stop border post in Chirundu

CLEARING agents in the country’s border posts yesterday protested against plans by the Government to introduce a system that aims at clearing goods at the port of entry.

The Government intends to implement an agreement with Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) which would facilitate the clearing of goods and service at the port of entry.

This is different from the current system where goods are being cleared at respective border posts where agents are actively involved.

The Commerce, Trade and Industry Ministry intend to domesticate the agreement known as the COMESA Custom Regional Bond Guarantee Scheme.

The COMESA Custom Regional Bond Guarantee Scheme was signed by the heads of states in 1990 at a COMESA summit in Swaziland.

Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA) spokesperson Mumbuna Kufesika confirmed the protest of clearing agents at Chirundu border post.

Mr Kufekisa said calm had returned at the border post as the police managed to disperse the protesting agents and operations got back to normal.

“ZRA officials addressed the agents informing them that the Government had not yet signed the policy to effect the COMESA agreement. Calm was restored at the border post with the help of state police and operations are back to normal,” Mr Kufekisa said.

Earlier, the clearing agents also threatened to go on a countrywide strike following the Automated System for Customs Data (ASYCUDA) system used at border posts for clearing the goods and services.

Customs Clearing and Freight Forwarding Agents’ Association of Zambia president Bruce Kaemba said in a statement that the Asycuda world system had been a challenge to agents from the time it was installed.

Mr Kaemba said the agents were currently facing various challenges including slow internet connectivity which had forced entries like export documents to take five days from the previous one hour.

“This scenario is very unhealthy for the clearing industry as the clearing process is now too slow while the reimbursement of the bonds by the system is equally slow, so are the acquittals of entries on this system take too long or are failing completely,” Mr Kaembe said.

However, Mr Kufekisa said the Authority had been addressing a number of challenges that agents had been facing with the system.

He said ZRA had put some embargoes on outstanding transactions of some agent as they were an enforcement of compliance tool which aimed at enhancing revenue collection.

Mr Kufekisa also noted that some clearing companies had an embargo, but ZRA was evaluating them on a case by case basis in order to ensure there was appropriate accountability by all stakeholders.

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  1. With scarcity of job opportunities in Zambia the number of loafers is now escalating day by day under PF. This kind of governance under PF leaves much to be desired. All they want is to strip the little a poor Zambian has so that these selfish leaders can have their pockets full all the time. Everyday is another chaos for our country. I have even noticed that even those bloggers who made so much noise before to support EL are no more on this site.

    • leave them, More over ZRA is very corrupt let the young-men also get something?? who wants to be running around in unprofessional ZRA offices??

      wrong priorities at wrong time when this Government has created Zero job opportunities. if you want start with clearing street vendors to keep the streets clean.

  2. Our president has no clue what is happening and the Commissioner General for ZRA either took some kick backs on this Asycuda World system because from my understanding its like. His too arrogant to admit that this has really brought more harm than good to the Revenue base generation of this country. No station is meeting there targets of revenue collection per month unlike the Asycuda++ days. Many entries are pending as Report Orders we are seeing desperate moves from ZRA Customs such as Asycuda Processing Fees being adjusted upwards from K 50.04 to K 83 then now at K 124.50. Its a paperless system why the high cost of registration all documents are soft copies which are attached. Day light robbery Asycuda fee is not a tax and there is no statutory instrument or a Cap. to support this…

  3. It was signed in ’90 by UNIP. Clever & caring MMD (FTJ, Levy, RB) govts never implemented it now the visionless drunk wants it effected, wow!!!
    Not even absentee MCS was that dumb.

  4. we have thousands of clearing agents across Zambian border ports,each of these agents are bread winners and have huge families to take good care of.For example in a Zambian family set up we have not less than 6 people in one family,that is if we have 3000 agents it means 9000 lives will suffer….me as an agent i understand well and knows exactly what negative impact it has for our poor economy.These guys have no idea but we do….let the government reverse this if they really have a heart for their citizens.

  5. Ukwanga fye these clearing agents. Having a demonstration for a system that has not yet been implemented. Anyway, it is better to be heard befgore implementation so that GRZ can reconsider. GRZ please don’t implement this leave it hanging for the sake of our comrades in the clearing and forwarding customs business.

  6. In the mid to late 80s someone I know personally had a thriving business repairing Electric Type Writers. He was doing very well. Then computers and their keyboards came on to the scene. Guess how well he did after type writers became OBSOLETE? Businesses and service providers of any size need to adapt to the times or go obsolete. Unfortunately, this includes clearing agents.

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