In response to the pressing need for improved security at Zambian borders, Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa, yesterday handed over metal detectors and ICT equipment to the Zambia Police and the Road Transport and Safety Agency (RTSA).
This significant handover ceremony was presided over by Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Industry permanent secretary Lillian Bwalya.
The metal detectors and ICT equipment were procured as part of the Zambia Border Posts Upgrade Project (ZBPUP) and will be strategically distributed to three key border posts: Mwami, Nakonde, and Chirundu.
The ZBPUP, valued at 6.8 Million Euros, is funded through the 11th European Development Fund (EDF) under the COMESA trade facilitation program. The Ministry of Commerce, Trade, and Industry will oversee the project’s implementation.
Bwalya emphasised that these devices would not only enhance the trade and trade facilitation landscape but also address legal gaps, modernize outdated soft infrastructure through improved ICT connectivity, and provide essential training to border officials in contemporary trade facilitation matters.
COMESA assistant secretary general Mohammed Kadah highlighted the importance of the technical equipment in securing and safeguarding borders. These tools will aid in detecting illegal trade and potentially hazardous products, ensuring the smooth flow of legitimate trade and travel.
Moreover, Kadah stressed that upgrading the Road Transport Safety Agency’s electronic system, including license readers, will expedite vehicle traffic processing at Zambia’s borders, reducing turnaround times and business costs in Zambia and the COMESA region.
The European Union delegation to Zambia, represented by Christiane Haziyo, commended the initiative and stressed that the metal detectors would empower Zambia’s law enforcement agencies to screen and identify potential threats, ensuring public spaces’ safety.
The advanced ICT equipment provided to RTSA will strengthen efforts to manage and regulate transportation systems, enhancing road safety.Haziyo emphasized the shared responsibility of creating an environment where safety and security thrive, encouraging both the Zambia Police and RTSA to view this equipment as a promise to protect and serve the citizens of the COMESA region.
Deputy Inspector of Police Alita Mbahwe and RTSA chief executive officer engineer Amon Mweemba expressed their satisfaction with the equipment, recognizing its potential to enhance their services and fortify national security infrastructure.
They emphasised that it would rebuild public confidence, improve the police force’s image, and enable officers at border areas to effectively combat organized and trans-national crimes.
The distribution of equipment to the three targeted one-stop border posts will commence next week, accompanied by training for the officers involved in the process.
Chirundu will be the first destination to benefit from these vital security enhancements.
By Buumba Mwitumwa
Kalemba, September 2, 2023