Tunduma. There is new life at the Tanzania-Zambia One Stop Border Post (OSBP). What used to be a border post with small scattered buildings has now taken a new shape, with services accessible in one handy location and in a state-of-the art facility worth 14 billion.
Under the new OSBP facility, goods and people in transit will only be required to make “one stop” after which they will have everything cleared and ready to continue their journey.
For Ms Tekla Chauro, who works for Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA) at the OSBP, frustrations could now be a thing of the past as staff operate in modern buildings constructed by a regional company, Trade Mark East Africa (TMEA). “It was frustrating to see some workers from different departments working in one room simply because they lacked rooms or wanted to share some facilities for their daily duties,” says Ms Chauro.
“The old border system compelled the travellers and business people to go for double check-up, this would consume a lot of time and was boring,” she says.
Workers now operate in a modern facility, unlike in the past when they had to endure the hurdles of transferring files from location to location.
The OSBP, which was jointly inaugurated by Presidents John Magufuli of Tanzania and Edgar Lungu of Zambia, is expected to seal revenue loopholes occasioned by the manual system of clearance whereby clearing and forwarding agents could easily collude with customs agents at the border, they workers say.
With new internet-installed facilities at the Tunduma OSBP, Mr Pascal Mahanju, who works at the Government Chemist Laboratory Authority, says he can now issue clearance certificates to customers electronically and very fast, unlike when it would take him several hours.
This, he says, “To a great extent [has] smoothened our operations”, explaining how corruption may likely be minimized and services improved.
“I have been here before the OSBP, there is much difference between the old and current border,’’ he says.
He says before the OSBP started its operations, lorry and truck drivers were being subjected to weeks of double check-ups and clearance at each the borders of Tunduma and Nakonde.
Mr Ramadhani Mnemo, a lorry driver says that he had previously experienced some difficulties working on the old system of border crossing that consumed a lot of time for passengers and clearance of goods and services, but now the situation is different.