Mozambique front line staff at Ressano Garcia border receive Personal Protective Equipment from TMA to support Safe Trade

Maputo, 18th May 2021: The Mozambique Revenue Authority (MRA), in partnership with TradeMark Africa (TMA), has delivered Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) which will be distributed to border authorities at the Mozambiquan and South African border of Ressano Garcia/ Lebombo.

The delivery was witnessed by H.E. Taurai Tsama, Mozambique’s Customs Director General, H.E. Mrs. Nuala O’Brien, Ambassador of Ireland to Mozambique, and Mrs. Sarah Love, Deputy Director of Development at the British High Commission in Mozambique. The equipment provided include hand sanitizers, liquid hand washing soap, infrared thermometer, re-usable safety boots, full protective PPE, , reusable masks, plastic face shield, disposable gloves, hand sanitiser dispensers and disinfectant spray bottles

This is part of TradeMark Africa’s wider support for mitigation measures against the spread of COVID-19 and continuous trade in Eastern and Southern Africa borders under its Safe Trade Emergency Facility Programme. Today’s symbolic handover will cover the needs of customs, immigration, security, and port health officials at Mozambique borders.

Speaking at the ceremony, Sarah Love, Deputy Development Director at the British High Commission in Maputo said:

“The UK is funding TMA in Mozambique and Malawi through the Safe Trade programme which is partnering with the Revenue Authority to implement measures to ensure that safe trade can continue during this COVID-19 pandemic. UK funding of £200,000 has enabled the purchase of Personal Protective Equipment for customs and border officials and the development of a joint emergency response to COVID-19 at these locations. This support will ensure a safe working environment for border agency staff and in turn facilitate the flow of goods and services along key value chains. ”

On his part, Head of Mozambique Customs thanked TradeMark Africa for their support to the government’s efforts to fight COVID-19, further saying; “. The PPEs being handed over to the border officials will strengthen our government’s measures of making our borders safe and open for trade. Given the vulnerability and exposure of the frontline workers to the virus, protection of all border personnel is paramount in ensuring they work in safe and optimal working conditions so that trade continues uninterrupted.

The United Kingdom’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) through the British High Commission in Malawi, Ireland, Netherlands and Canada are funding Mozambique’s component of the TMA Safe Trade Emergency Facility (STEF) programme with a contribution of USD 846,000.

Distribution of PPE is a key component of TMA’s Safe Trade Emergency Facility (STEF) programme, that was launched to respond to the rapid spread of the COVID-19 pandemic which has hit Eastern and Southern Africa’s border crossing points, causing some of the worst disruptions in history. The usually busy land borders are a main vector of human transmission from one country to another. In response, governments have adopted mandatory testing of border users at crossing points. Yet, crossing points have shortages of Personal Protective Equipment(PPE) for front line staff and there are frequent reports of border officials contracting the disease. Inadequate or no PPEs for frontline officers, especially for port health and security personnel, is causing delays in border clearance processes. The PPE provided include key items agreed in consultation with governments, port health authorities and advice from medical agencies at regional and international levels.

Other interventions under the Safe Trade Emergency Facility in Malawi include: establishment of robust commercial systems and procedures to support the effective and efficient clearance and transit of goods; the development and implementation of relevant protocols to enhance efficient and safe trade;  dissemination of SADC operational guidelines on COVID-19 at borders; supporting for joint border management committees for better interpretation and implementation of the COVID-19 directives; raising awareness and awareness among border officials of stigma and harassment of women in cross border trade.

TMA Acting Country Director for the Mozambique Country Programme, Anthe Vrijlandt said that TMA was committed to supporting the border authorities and the border users, to ensure medical compliant trade between adjoining States and the region. She noted that the support is critical to facilitate the safe continuation of trading activities and especially protecting livelihoods.

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