Mamuno Border Post will be piloted as a One Stop Border gate in August as part of government’s move to ease anxieties from logistics traders, business people and visitors that went through, entering and exiting Botswana and Namibia border post.
The pilot project will eventually roll over to other posts in the near future as legislators hail the move as a “splendid overdue project”.
“This is a noble cause we have been waiting for as it will bring about economic gains the country is struggling to attain. Traders, business people and many others will have the burden of shifting from one post to another lifted and be assisted within a short time,” remarked Kweneng East Member of Parliament, Moeng Pheto.
“All African countries are thinking this way,” added Isaac Mabiletsa, the Kgatleng East MP, echoing the same sentiments raised by his colleague. “The project will facilitate trade between SADC and European countries and shed the bad image that Africa is a continent of disease, poverty and is backward.”
The minister of Finance and Development Planning presented One Stop Border Posts Bill to parliament this week, saying that the country’s rating had dipped as noted by the World Bank Doing Business Report.
Dubbed “trading across borders”, the report painted Botswana in bad light, ranking the country number 151 out of 183 countries.
“The rating has adverse effects on Botswana’s ability to attract and retain investment. This shows Botswana has come up with initiatives to improve this rating,” Kenneth Matambo said Wednesday.
Started in 2008, the strategy to enhance trade facilitation was commissioned by the Trans-Kalahari Corridor Management Committee in August the same year to determine the feasibility of establishing a One Stop Border Post between Botswana and Namibia.
“A One Stop Border Post allows people, vehicles, and goods to exit one country and enter another country through a single facility, staffed and operated jointly by officials of adjoining countries,” Matambo further said.
Apart from reducing the duplication of border agency interventions and enable quicker border clearance processes, one stop border post reduces transport time and cost because transit times become more predictable, logistical efficiency increases and the countries trade competiveness is enhanced.
“I initially thought the Bill was targeting big trucks, traders and business people but have come to learn leisure time travelers are accommodated,” said Gaborone South West South MP, Botsalo Ntuane. “We should stop this insular behaviour …this inward looking and physical over-protection of our borders under the name of sovereignty without looking at the dangers this could impose,” he said.
The reason some people resort to border jumping, he added, was because of the inefficient systems littering the border gates.
“This is a straight forward project,” Ntuane said, questioning the feasibility and piloting of the project when elsewhere the same has proved quite sustainable and profitable.
Responding to the remarks of the legislators, Matambo indicated under Botswana context, ‘the Mamuno One Stop Border Post could be referred as a pilot project’.
“We have even engaged experts from Japan who are familiar with the project,” Matambo said, confirming that the launch of the project will be in August.