Source: Uni-visa system set to resume – Sunday News Nov 20, 2016
Roberta Katunga, Senior Business Reporter
ZIMBABWE and Zambia are set to resume the uni-visa system that had been suspended after the uni-visa stickers ran out with indications showing that the two countries will soon sign a new Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to regularise the system.
In an interview, Immigration Department principal director Mr Clemence Masango revealed that
50 000 new visa stickers have already been deployed to the ports of entry and that the immigration officers have undergone the necessary training.
He said the Government was now working on the MoU which will give them the legal basis to start functioning.
“As soon as Home Affairs Minister Dr Ignatius Chombo and his Zambian counterpart Steven Kampyongo sign the official documents to pave way for the implementation at the ports of entry, we will be ready to start functioning,” said Mr Masango.
Commenting on the previous system which was in place as a pilot project between November 2014 and December 2015, with more than 47 000 visitors benefiting from the arrangement, Mr Masango said all outstanding issues had been resolved.
“When we stopped using the uni-visa system it was mainly because the MoU was lapsing in December and the fact that the stickers had run out. We have come up with another MoU and this is not, however, a permanent situation although it’s no longer on pilot stage,” he said.
Mr Masango said the new agreement is open ended and is between the two countries with the hope that the remaining three countries in the KAZA TFCA will come on board. In addition to the existing principles, 39 more countries that qualify to be part of the system would be added onto the existing 41 countries that began in the pilot phase.
“When we began this as a pilot phase, we were covering 41 nations, we thus hope in time to include more countries numbering up to 80 as long as they qualify to be part of us,” said Mr Masango.
The two countries have called on the KAZA-TFCA secretariat to assist in funding the integration of the uni-visa into the border management system so that it could be issued and cleared from any counter at the ports of entry.
The KAZA-TFCA uni-visa was initiated to promote tourism through facilitation of easier and cost effective movement of tourists between Zimbabwe and Zambia to stimulate economic and regional integration. The system is also expected to incorporate Angola, Botswana and Namibia once they have finalised modalities in their systems.