Zambia bans use of Victoria Falls bridge by haulage trucks

ZAMBIA has banned the movement of outbound haulage trucks from using Livingstone-Victoria Falls border post saying the move is aimed at preserving the Victoria Falls Bridge and attracting tourists.

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In a recent public notice, Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA) said the ban, which comes into effect on March 1, will see commercial trucks from Zimbabwe’s neighbouring country using Kazungula Bridge a move that might increase transportation cost for locals and adversely impact revenue collection by the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra).

“This notice serves to inform all customs clearing agents and exporters wishing to export goods listed in the 7th Schedule to Statutory Instrument No.115 of 2020 that they should effect the exportation of their goods through the customs ports and aerodromes set out in the Eighth Schedule to the attached Statutory Instrument — (SI 115 of 2020).

“Further, note that goods for export through Victoria Falls Border Post shall only be transported by rail only effective 1st March, 2021,” reads part of the public notice.

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It said the SI 115 of 2020 came into effect on 1st January this year.

“You are therefore advised to familiarise yourself with SI 115 of 2020 to avoid unnecessary delays at the borders.”

Speaking to ZBC News last week, ZRA corporate communications manager Mr Topsy Sikalinda said an SI and public notice had been issued to all stakeholders including exporters and those in the transport and logistics, and clearing sectors regarding the ban of commercial trucks from using the Livingstone-Victoria Falls route.

“We are doing this in order to preserve the bridge and apart from preserving the bridge, we also want to bring sanity in the city of Livingstone as you know Livingstone is a tourism capital.

“We have a lot of trucks that make a lot of noise and bring disorder, so we certainly need to bring sanity,” he said.

Economic analyst Mr Peter Mhaka said the ban on outbound commercial trucks from using the Livingstone-Victoria Falls border post by Zambia would reduce revenue collection by Zimra on the Zimbabwe side.

“Not only will the move taken by Zambia reduce revenue collection by Zimra, but this will add (the) costs of importing as using Kazungula border is relatively far compared to using Victoria Falls,” he said.

Zimbabwe and Zambia have cordial political and economic ties. Last year, President Mnangagwa toured the Kazungula Bridge, which links Zambia and Botswana to assess progress on the US$253 million infrastructure that is meant to enhance trade among Southern African countries.

Under the new dispensation, Zimbabwe joined the Kazungula Bridge project across the Zambezi River in phase two of works in 2019. The country joined Botswana and Zambia, and the three countries have agreed to set up a one-stop border post with offices in Zambia and Botswana sides. — ZBC News/Business Chronicle.