By KETRA KALUNGA
HIGH toll fees at the newly constructed Kazungula Bridge have raised concern among stakeholders.
The Centre for Trade Policy and Development (CTPD), Southern Africa Cross Border Traders Association (SACBTA) and the Zambia Chamber of Commerce Trade and Industry (ZACCI) say the high toll fees if not addressed would deter trade.
The private sector and civil society organisations said in a joint statement that there is need to avoid application of exorbitant fees as these would become a deterrent to trade between Zambia and Botswana.
They fear that the proposed fees would result in increased illegal trade or reduced trade flow through the Kazungula bridge.
The proposed fees would result in increased supply chain expenses for goods and services traded through Kazungula, they added.
“We are concerned that with such new barriers, aspirations under the newly launched Africa Continental Free Trade Initiative may not be achieved.
Our fear therefore is that traders will be faced with a choice to choose between the routes with high and low toll fees,” they said.
They have urged the government to ensure trade facilitation with less trade costs and the elimination of Non-tariff barriers.
It is therefore, our position that the government should revise the fees in the interest of all Zambian cross border traders and transporters, they said.