Namibia-Botswana one-stop border post gains momentum 

Home National Namibia-Botswana one-stop border post gains momentum 
Namibia-Botswana one-stop border post gains momentum 

KATIMA MULILO – The Namibia Revenue Agency and its partners are hard at work to ensure the smooth implementation of the one-stop border post at Mamuno/Trans-Kalahari Border Post between Namibia and Botswana.

The OSBP (one-stop border post) is seen as a strategic initiative aimed at streamlining border operations between the two Southern African neighbours. 

The implementation date is 1 May 2024. However, NamRA commissioner Sam Shivute and the Botswana Unified Revenue Service (BURS) commissioner general Jeannette Makgolo, who toured the project last Friday, acknowledged that vital components of the project might not be in place by the set implementation date.

Hence the need to have a consolidated tracking of all pending activities with revised timelines in preparation for updating their respective principals.

New Era recently engaged NamRA spokesperson Yarukeekuro Ndorokaze for an update on OSBP’s implementation. 

He was upbeat. 

“We have undertaken proactive measures, including recruiting and training 140 customs officials last year. Some of these officials were deployed at the border to support the implementation of the OSBP, ensuring adequate manpower and expertise for efficient border operations. Our readiness reflects our commitment to facilitating seamless trade and travel experiences for stakeholders, and supporting regional integration efforts,” Ndorokaze said. 

He added that the OSBP essentially consolidates border clearance activities such as customs, immigration, and other regulatory checks, into a single location. 

This means that traders and travellers can complete all necessary formalities at one point, reducing the time and effort required for cross-border activities. 

For Namibia, the OSBP signifies enhanced efficiency in trade facilitation and smoother movement of goods and people, consequently promoting economic growth and regional integration.

Some of the key benefits he mentioned derived from the implementation of the OSBP include faster clearance processes for goods and passengers, reduced congestion at border crossings, improved trade efficiency, cost-savings for businesses due to reduced delays, increased cross-border cooperation and harmonisation of procedures and enhanced regional integration and connectivity. 

“These benefits contribute significantly to boosting trade volumes, promoting economic development and fostering stronger bilateral relations between Namibia and Botswana,” he noted.

Asked what difficulties they are facing in this endeavour, he replied: “These challenges include prolonged clearance times, delays in processing paperwork and inspections, inefficiencies due to multiple checkpoints, increased administrative burdens and costs for traders, congestion at border crossings leading to delays in transportation and limited coordination between border agencies.”

As such, the OSBP addresses the said challenges by centralising clearance processes and promoting collaboration among relevant agencies, thereby streamlining border operations which ultimately improves overall efficiency. 

He hastened to say the implementation of the OSBP is a collaborative effort involving various stakeholders from both Namibia and Botswana.

On the Namibian side, NamRA plays a leading role by working closely with key border agencies such as the immigration ministry, health, transport ministries and parastatals such as the Agronomic Board, Meat Board of Namibia and the Road Fund Administration.

This multi-agency partnership ensures comprehensive coordination, streamlined processes and effective management of the OSBP project.

NamRA is furthermore actively engaged in awareness campaigns to sensitise the nation about OSPB’s benefits.

“Our promotional plan includes a series of stakeholder engagement sessions, outreach activities with affected communities and collaborations with regional leadership, such as the Omaheke region. We also encourage stakeholders and the public to follow our social media platforms for regular updates and information regarding the OSBP, ensuring widespread awareness and participation in this transformative initiative,” said Ndorokaze.

Contacted for comment, Omaheke governor Pijoo Nganate welcomed the initiative.

He said for a region that is dependent on animal husbandry, it is high time that it must diversify its economic activities and look at setting up new industries, manufacturing and cross-border trade. Nganate is also hopeful that this one-stop border post will ease the crossing of people, goods and services, “that our people will not be onlookers, but will set up warehouses, truck ports, kiosks, hospitality facilities”.

“I am sure that the border post, with already 100 new houses, will become a very big town within our region. Not only is Omaheke locality as a region ideal for trade, but the border post is of historic political importance to the region since our founding father did pass through this very same place into Botswana, and so did many other national leaders. A museum or symbolic gesture must be put up that could include the renaming of the border post. But yes, Omaheke and Namibia will never be the same after the opening of the one-stop border post, so too will it affect the country and SADC as a whole,” he said.

– anakale@nepc.com.na