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Service delivery improves at Beitbridge border

by Staff reporter
04 May 2023 at 06:09hrs | Views
The transformation of the Beitbridge Border Post at a cost of US$300 million has started bearing fruits as it has drastically reduced the turnaround time for cargo clearance and the movement of human traffic.

Long delays which saw cargo and people spending between seven and three days to be cleared at the country's busiest port of entry, are now a thing of the past.

Government through a public private partnership with the Zimborders Consortium has completed upgrading the border post.

Under the new set up, the port of entry now has three terminals and new road and ICT facilities dedicated to cargo, buses and light vehicle traffic.

In previous years, all these would be cleared in one hall which was not enough to accommodate 15 000 travellers, 1 200 trucks, 200 buses and 3 000 light vehicles passing through the border daily.

Zimborders consortium chief executive officer, Mr Francois Diedrechsen said they had started noting a great improvement in service delivery at the border post.

"Efficiencies have improved dramatically as evidenced by the disappearance of vehicle queues at the border," he said.

Mr Diedrechsen said the average time taken to clear a truck transiting the border had been reduced from several days to less than three hours since the completion of the civil works.

"The average clearance time for trucks could even be less if all the border users follow the set operational procedures which include preclearing cargo and making sure that they bring the correct documents to border agencies," he said.

Zimborders is managing and maintaining the infrastructure as part of the 17 and half years build, operate and transfer agreement(BOT).

Chairperson of the Beitbridge Informal Traders Association Mr Mafios Macheka said the separation of traffic had brought relief to their members.

He said they were now getting customised services and spending less time at the port of entry compared to past years.

"The separation of vehicle categories has tremendously improved efficiency at the Beitbridge Border Post. You will note that long  queues are now a thing of the past and now ordinary travellers are spending less than 30 minutes to complete the border formalities especially those using light vehicles," said Mr Macheka.

Head of the Agriculture and Plant Inspectorate, Mr Levi Gama said they were happy with the new set up and the harmonisation of clearance processes.

The Regional Immigration Officer in-charge of Beitbridge, Mr Joshua Chibundu said: "Issues of congestion have been reduced as a result of separation of traffic, adequate office accommodation and improved service delivery. For instance truck drivers are cleared faster compared to the past when they used to queue with other travellers. There is also improved communication or liaison among border agencies," said Mr Chibundu.

He said there is now enhanced service delivery at the border because officers were aware of the closed circuit cameras which deters errant behaviour

The chairperson of the Beitbridge Commercial Transporters Association, Mr Osbert Shumba said the separation of traffic has brought order at the port of entry.

He said under the new system, it is easy for border agencies to trouble shoot any challenges.

"We are happy with the general look of the border and the new work ethic, there is smooth traffic flow  and more service points," said a regular traveller Ms Rumbedzani Ribombo.

She said Government had invested a lot into the project and those tasked with managing and maintaining the border facilities have an obligation to take good care of the facilities.

A customs and clearing consultant, Mr Joseph Musariri said the introduction of ICT facilities had created an efficient working system. He said it was also critical for the border agencies to change their mindset to fit into the new norm.

Mr Musariri however said harmonisation of compliance systems would address the few teething challenges being experienced at the border.

Source - The Chronicle