Procurement: Consulting Services For Clearing Agent Training and Examination

This opportunity is now closed.

MODERNIZATION OF CUSTOMS CLEARING AGENT LICENSING REQUEST FOR PROPOSAL
CONSULTING SERVICES FOR CLEARING AGENT TRAINING AND EXAMINATION

1. BACKGROUND
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:

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.
The government has an efficient and sustainable customs broker licensing framework.
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:

Improving the framework (6 months – Expected completion: September 2019) – 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.
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.
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.
Training is envisioned to occur partly on an e-learning basis, but also have a practical, hands-on training component. Though ZRA will own the examinations, training providers are yet to be identified. Exactly who owns the trainings will become clear through the modernized framework as part of phase I. The project expects to offer training and examination in various locations across Zambia to maximize accessibility. The project will identify and give special consideration to gender-specific barriers in both the examination and training. GATF will also extend a financial support mechanism to clearing agents undergoing the mode 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 II and phase III of the project.

2. GENERAL OBJECTIVES
The objective of this consultancy is to provide technical expertise to the Zambia project working group, supporting the production of a clearing agent examination, training course/ curriculum and the requisite processes to ensure implementation and sustainability.

3. SCOPE OF WORK
The selected consultant will be responsible for undertaking the following:

  • 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;
  • Providing technical expertise to the Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA) regarding Customs Clearing Agent (CCA) examination including reference materials, examination format and length, examination difficulty, administration of examinations, marking of examinations, appeals, etc.;
  • Conducting Business Process Engineering exercise with the ZRA to identify appropriate examination implementation processes and resources that ensure sustainability;
  • Providing technical expertise to Zambian CCA training providers toward the development and delivery of CCA training. Specifically, assist in drafting curriculum and materials;
  • Conducting Business Process Engineering exercise with the Zambian CCA training providers to identify appropriate training implementation processes and resources that ensure sustainability;
  • Conducting Training of Trainers (TOT) exercise with Zambian CCA training providers;
  • Providing technical expertise to Zambian CCA training providers and ZRA leading up to and during examination and training pilot;
  • Providing technical expertise to Zambian CCA training providers during delivery of CCA training course (two separate “waves” expected);
  • Providing technical expertise to ZRA during administration of CCA examinations (two separate “waves” expected).

4. DELIVERABLES

1) Deliverable: Inception Report – Report detailing the methodology, updated work breakdown structure and updated project schedule for all project deliverables
Delivery timeframe: 30 days after contract is fully executed
Report format: Electronic (MS Word)

2) Deliverable: Examination Guidelines – This report will include all recommendations and advice to ZRA in relation to the design and efficient execution of examinations for clearing agents. Emphasis should be placed on developing a fit-for-purpose and sustainable examination mechanism that ensures transparency and fairness of the process.
Delivery timeframe: 90 days after contract is fully executed
Report format: Presentation to ZRA and key stakeholders, Electronic copy (MS Word)

3) Deliverable: Training Guidelines – This report will include all recommendations and advice to CCA training providers in relation to the efficient design and execution of training for clearing agents. Must include e-learning and in-person training.
Delivery timeframe: 150 days after contract is fully executed
Report format: Presentation to project working group, Electronic copy (MS Word)

4) Deliverable: Training of Trainers Workshop – Delivery of workshop for all CCA training providers. Objective of workshop is to build the capacity of CCA trainers to successfully deliver CCA training.
Delivery timeframe: 180 days after contract is fully executed
Report format:Workshop materials and delivery

5) Deliverable: Training & Examination Pilot Report – This report will objectively assess the CCA training and examination pilot. It will identify and recommend specific, actionable areas for improvement of both the examination and training.
Delivery timeframe: 240 days after contract is fully executed
Report format: Presentation to project working group, Electronic copy (MS Word)

6) Deliverable: Project Completion Report – Following the first round of training and examination, this report will assess the improvements and adjustments made from pilot through the first round. It will identify and recommend specific, actionable areas for improvement of both the examination and training, with special emphasis on sustainability following project closure.
Delivery timeframe: 20 days after contract is fully executed
Report format: Presentation to project working group, Electronic copy (MS Word)

 

PAYMENT SCHEDULE

10% of the total amount after contract is fully executed.
30% of the total amount after submission and approval of deliverables 2, 3 and 4
25% of the total amount after submission and approval of deliverable 5.
35% of the total amount after submission and approval of deliverable 6.

5. DURATION OF ASSIGNMENT
The duration of the consultancy will be up to eighty days (80) starting in October 2019. The expected completion date shall be January 2020.

6. REPORTING ARRANGEMENTS
The selected candidate will report to CIPE’s Program Officer for Trade. Program Officer for Trade will also provide final approval for all deliverables. The candidate will also work closely with the GATF Country Representative and the Chair of the Project Working Group.

7. ADMINISTRATIVE AND LOGISTICAL ARRANGEMENTS
Meeting space will be provided on a rotational basis by the members of the Project Working Group 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 to five (5) missions to Lusaka during the course of this consultancy, each lasting approximately one week in duration. All expense reimbursement parameters follow U.S. Agency for International Development standards but generally include US State Department rates for hotel accommodations and per diem.

8. TECHNICAL PROFILE OF CANDIDATE

Qualifications

  • Minimum Bachelor’s degree in Political Science, Economics, or other relevant fields.
  • License to conduct customs business in the country of residence (e.g. Licensed Customs Broker in USA).
  • JD or MA in relevant field preferred.

Knowledge/Experience

  • At least 5 years demonstrated experience developing and delivering customs clearing agent training (capacity building), in person and online;
  • At least 5 years working in the field of customs, customs brokerage, customs compliance, trade facilitation, or similar;
  • Demonstrated experience with customs regulations;
  • Demonstrated command of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule (HTS), the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI) and the concepts of classification, valuation, and Rules of Origin (ROO);
  • Demonstrated experience with customs clearing agent examination drafting and delivery;
  • 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;
  • Prior Experience in working in Zambia and/or other sub-Saharan Africa in the related field preferred;
  • Strong written and oral communication skills in English.

9. APPLICATION
To apply for this opportunity, please send a resume, cover letter and a filled out copy of USAID Form 1420-17 in PDF format to CIPE Program Officer, Florent Bakija: FBakija@cipe.org and Trade and Logistics Officer, Loren Hall: lhall@cipe.org by 5:00pm Eastern Standard Time, 09/09, 2019. Include in the subject line: “CONSULTING SERVICES FOR FRAMEWORK GAP ASSESSMENT – [NAME]”

10. 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.

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