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MODERNIZATION OF CUSTOMS CLEARING AGENT LICENSING
REQUEST FOR PROPOSAL
CONSULTING SERVICES FOR FRAMEWORK GAP ASSESSMENT
The Global Alliance for Trade Facilitation (GATF) is a public-private delivery mechanism created to support effective implementation of the World Trade Organization’s Trade Facilitation Agreement (“TFA”) through partnerships between governments and private sector. GATF is a cooperative effort funded by the governments of the United States, Great Britain, Canada, Germany, Australia, and Denmark. The GATF Secretariat is composed of the Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE), the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC-WBO), and the World Economic Forum (WEF), with Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) as implementing partner.
GATF is in the process of implementing a project to modernize the framework for the licensing of customs clearing agents (customs brokers) in Zambia. Because customs brokers serve as the intermediary between the Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA or Customs) and traders, a well-functioning border relies heavily upon brokers’ knowledge, professionalism, and integrity. Both the private sector and the Government of Zambia have underscored substantial concerns about the current licensing system and its negative impacts on trade in the country.
Under current practices in Zambia, some brokers are able to attain licenses without proper training, proof of knowledge and compliance, or even demonstrating a physical address for their business. Partly resulting from this, ZRA has estimated that the number of licensed customs brokers, around 700, is in excess of what is required given the level of business in Zambia. The private sector expresses that brokers often lack sufficient knowledge and expertise in clearing goods because there is no proper customs brokers framework, training, and examination in place. Members of a subset of the broker community, often referred to as “briefcase brokers,” do not always have a physical address for their business and are actively undermining the competitiveness of compliant traders. The Government, on the other side, has expressed its concern about the lack of knowledge and understanding of the duties and responsibilities by importers and their customs brokers.
The overall objective of this project, therefore, is to support Zambia to design and implement a modern, equitable, robust and fit-for-purpose customs broker licensing framework. GATF will conduct the project through a gender lens to ensure that women derive the same benefits as their male counterparts. After the completion of the project, it is expected that:
1. Zambia has a body of highly qualified, trained and efficient customs brokers who are able to facilitate faster clearance and transit of goods across Zambia’s borders.
2. The government has an efficient and sustainable customs broker licensing framework.
3. Zambia will have implemented a fundamental and transformative category “C” commitment of the TFA, thereby boosting economic growth and reducing poverty.
GATF will implement the project over a period of 24 months and in three phases:
1. Improving the framework (6 months) – During this phase, GATF will assess all elements for a modern customs broker framework to create a clear roadmap for the creation of a licensing system that incorporates a training course and an examination.
2. Development of exam and training (6 months) – The new framework envisions two major parts: (1) a training course, and (2) a subsequent compulsory examination for existing and prospective brokers. This phase will develop such training course in association with ZRA, the customs broker association(s), and the broader private sector including those outfits identified to lead training and exam implementation.
3. Implementation of training and examination (12 months) – The compulsory training and examination will be a new condition introduced into an existing established industry. The project will gradually phase them in to avoid disruption. This period remains to be determined, but GATF anticipates an average of twelve (12) months.
GATF expects training to occur partly on an e-learning basis, but also have a practical, hands-on training component. The project will offer training and examination in various across Zambia to maximize accessibility. The project will give special consideration to women. GATF will extend a financial support mechanism to ease industry transition into conformity with the modernized framework.
The project will directly support Zambia in implementing Article 10.6.3 of the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA), which Zambia has determined to be a “Category C” commitment. This article states “[w]ith regard to the licensing of customs brokers, Members shall apply rules that are transparent and objective.”
To support the implementation of the project, GATF wishes to hire the services of a professional consultant who will work closely and cooperatively with the project’s working group to ensure timely and adequate implementation of phase I of the project: framework modernization.
2. GENERAL OBJECTIVES
The objective of this consultancy is to produce a comprehensive recommendation report to modernize Zambia’s customs broker licensing regulations.
3. SCOPE OF WORK
The selected consultant will be responsible, but not limited to, for undertaking the following:
• Composition and delivery of monthly reports focusing on elements of the Zambian customs regulations pertinent to the licensing of clearing agents.
• Establishing close working arrangements with an interdisciplinary team composed of experts from the public and private sectors, GATF, and other individual consultants hired to implement the activities identified in the project plan.
• Liaising with the Project Working Group and Project Steering Group on a regular basis;
• Consult with project stakeholders to assess which aspects of current customs broker licensing framework fall within the scope of the project;
• For each selected item, conduct thorough research and analysis of “best practice” examples and recommendations from individual countries as well as the World Customs Organization (WCO). Specific examples are sought from, but are not limited to, the East Africa Community (EAC), the United States of America (USA) and the United Kingdom (UK);
• Present research, analysis, and any recommendation(s) to the Project Working Group on a monthly basis and participate in dialogue surrounding the report;
• Actively assist in planning and preparation for a study tour delegation of Project Working Group members to a host country (to be determined partly through this consultancy exercise);
• Compile decision outcomes into comprehensive report detailing recommended regulatory changes
4. DURATION OF ASSIGNMENT
The duration of the consultancy will be up to sixty days (60) starting in April 2019. The expected completion date shall be September 2019.
5. REPORTING ARRANGEMENTS
The selected candidate will report to CIPE’s Program Officer for Trade. The candidate will also work closely with the GATF Country Representative.
6. ADMINISTRATIVE AND LOGISTICAL ARRANGEMENTS
• Meeting space will be provided by the Zambian Revenue Authority at their headquarters in Lusaka, Zambia
• Candidates need not reside in Lusaka, but will need to possess sufficient capability to remotely carry out detailed activities where necessary
• The selected consultant shall conduct up three (3) missions to Lusaka during the course of this consultancy, each lasting approximately one week in duration. The funding source for these trips is the specific GATF project budget in addition to agreed compensation. All expense reimbursement parameters follow U.S. Agency for International Development standards, but generally include US State Department rates for required visas, flight tickets, hotel accommodations, other transportation expenses (taxis) and per diem.
7. TECHNICAL PROFILE OF CANDIDATE
• Minimum Bachelor’s degree in Political Science, Economics, or another relevant field.
• At least 5 years of experience working in a project-oriented organization or managing a variety of modernization projects
• At least 5 years working in the field of customs, customs brokerage, customs compliance, trade facilitation, or similar
• Demonstrated experience with customs regulations
• Familiarity with World Customs Organization’s (WCO) Customs Broker Guidelines and the WCO’s Revised Kyoto Convention (RKC)
• Familiarity with different customs frameworks, specific emphasis on USA, UK, EAC
• Sound working knowledge of project management techniques, tools and software.
• Proficient in Microsoft Office Suite, including Microsoft Project or similar
• Experience working both independently and in a team-oriented, collaborative environment is essential
• Strong written and oral communication skills in English
To apply for this opportunity, please send a resume, cover letter addressing the requisite qualifications and a filled out copy of USAID Form 1420-17 in PDF format to CIPE Program Officer for Trade, Florent Bakija: FBakija@cipe.org by 5:00pm Eastern Standard Time, March 15, 2019. Include in the subject line: “CONSULTING SERVICES FOR FRAMEWORK GAP ASSESSMENT – [NAME]”
9. EVALUATION METHODOLOGY
Evaluation of an applicant’s suitability for this consultancy will be based on the applicant’s technical background as provided on the resume and cover letter as well as the applicant’s financial requirements as stipulated in USAID Form 1420-17.