The Zambia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ZACCI) says the temporary closure of Kasumbalesa, Mokambo and Sakanya entry points due to the presidential election in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) will negatively affect revenue collection given the absence of border taxes.
And Home Affairs Permanent Secretary Dr Chileshe Mulenga has announced that all the entry points to that country are now open to the public following the end of voting last Sunday.
In an interview, ZACCI president Michael Nyirenda said the closure inconvenienced the travelling public, cross-border businesses, transporters and drivers, who had to wait at the border to be cleared since they were unaware of the closure.
“…On the economic side, both sides, but more for Zambia is that revenue collection… meaning our ZRA (Zambia Revenue Authority) and customs duty did not collect anything during this [closure] period. This meant that there were costs for those that were either exporting to the DRC; the cost of maintaining these people since it was not known how long it was going to take,” Nyirenda said.
He added that cross-border businesses, transporters, drivers alike were negatively affected by the closure as they experienced additional costs that were not planned for.
“We hope after the elections, our brothers and sisters, who are our neighbours and we are together under SADC, and COMESA if not mistaken, there will be peace so that there will be no need to close the borders once you are holding elections because I don’t think we do that here when we are holding elections,” Nyirenda added.
Last week, Minister of Home Affairs, Steven Kampyongo announced the closure of the Pedicle road, which connects Chembe District in Luapula Province and Mufulira on the Copperbelt, through the DRC, hence affecting Kasumbalesa, Mokambo and Sakanya entry points due to elections in DRC during that weekend.
And in a separate interview, Dr Mulenga confirmed that all the entry points are now open to the public.
“Yes, the borders were opened the following day after they [DRC] voted, so things are flowing smoothly; goods and people are crossing,” said Dr Mulenga.