Zambia takes a significant step in transforming cross-border trade

In a significant move to improve trade flows in the Republic of Zambia, President Hakainde Hichilema approved a key Customs and Excise Regulation as a part of a Cabinet Meeting held on 12 February 2024.  

The regulatory reform is a result of an Alliance initiative to implement a formal licensing framework and training in Zambia to professionalise the Customs clearing industry.   

Until the coming of this regulation, the industry had zero barrier to entry with little to no requirement to enter the profession. This resulted in a high transactional error rate, government revenue loss, higher compliance costs for traders and a perpetual hold-up of goods at the border due to clearance delays.  

The new regulation will transform the Customs clearing agents’ licensing process by imposing minimum educational requirements to enter the industry and the need to clear training and examination. 

In keeping with the Alliance’s public private partnership approach to implementing the project, the regulation has also introduced a licensing committee composed of representatives from both government and business who will evaluate licensing applications.  

Ultimately, the regulations will enhance credibility and align Zambian Customs and clearing services with international best practices, boosting the country’s trade competitiveness.