Enhanced inclusive trade facilitation reforms in Zambia thanks to WCO support

30 March 2022

As part of its multi-year and strategic Mercator collaboration with the Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA) towards comprehensive implementation of the WTO’s Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA), the WCO conducted a mission to take stock of and monitor activities rendered under the framework of by the United Kingdom’s Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs (HMRC) supported Trade Facilitation Capacity Building Programme.  The mission, which took place from 11 to 18 March 2022 and was also supported by a Mercator Programme Advisor of the Lesotho Revenue Authority, served to identify progress achieved in the past years, while also discussing challenges faced related to the COVID pandemic. Moreover, the deliberations also focused on identifying opportunities for further collaboration and capacity building under the next phase of the HMRC Pogramme ‘Accelerate Trade Facilitation’ which kicks-off in April 2022.

During meetings with different units and teams, significant progress was noted especially towards implementing TFA Article 7.7, which stipulates that TFA signatories should regularly conduct Time Release Studies as a tool to measure clearance and release times. ZRA, with support of the WCO, has managed to build its own capacity and is now taking the lead in conducting several TRS, both on national and regional level. Moreover, significant progress has been made to advance gender equality and diversity (GED) under the framework of the ZRA’s Women in Leadership Development Forum. The Forum both supports women’s career development and provides women tax payers and traders relevant information to enable them to become more compliant. Together with ZRA, the WCO team also met with women-led business representatives to better understand the trade environment in which they operate. The ZRA complimented the WCO for its support in this area which has included a GED organizational assessment and a dedicated training. The recommendations of the GED organizational assessment were discussed with the ZRA team with the aim to develop a ZRA forward looking action plan in this area.

Other areas were progress has been made include Post Clearance Audit (TFA Article 7.5), Air Cargo Streamlining related to Expedited Shipments (TFA Article 7.8), and the ZRA’s Customs Accredited Client Programme (CACP) which is a compliance based programme providing accredited businesses with faster clearance. A separate mission with Authorized Economic Operator (AEO) experts took place back-to-back to support ZRA in transitioning  its CACP into a full-fledged AEO Programme. The WCO delegation also engaged with representatives of the Zambia National Trade Facilitation Committee (NTFC) to take stock of the progress made on national level with regard to TFA implementation. The NTFC has been supported by UNCTAD – the WCO’s strategic partner under the Accelerate Trade Facilitation programme.

The WCO looks forward to continue collaborating with the ZRA to further enhance Zambia’s TFA implementation under the framework of the Mercator Programme – strengthening the ZRA’s capacity to facilitate trade and revenue collection in an effective way.

See for more information on ‘Accelerate Trade Facilitation’ Programme here.