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Beitbridge modernisation winds up

by Staff reporter
22 Jun 2023 at 06:37hrs | Views
THE US$300 million Beitbridge Border Post modernisation project has reached its final stage with contractors now winding up construction works, ZimBorders Consortium general manager, Mr Nqobile Ncube has said.

ZimBorders Consortium, working in partnership with the Government, transformed the Beitbridge Border Post into an enviable world-class facility, which has completely changed the face of the border town.

The massive infrastructure development initiative is a build, operate and transfer (BOT) arrangement.

Under the arrangement, the consortium will manage and maintain the infrastructure for 17 years in order to recoup the costs and also realise profits from its investment before handing over the facility to Government.

Beitbridge is one of the busiest border posts in Africa, which not only connects Zimbabwe and South Africa, but also serves as the transit point for the majority of north-south trade in Southern Africa.

The massive project is one of the key economic and developmental initiatives successfully implemented by the Second Republic across the country, and at its inception, created employment for more than 1 500 locals in line with the National Development Strategy 1 (NDS1).

The modernisation of the Beitbridge Border Post is in line with Vision 2030, which seeks to attain an upper middle-income economy.

The upgrading and modernisation of Beitbridge Border Post will also speed up the implementation of the One-Stop Border Post (OSBP) concept between South Africa and Zimbabwe.

Under the OSBP travellers and cargo will be cleared once for entry and exit in both countries.

It is one of the milestone projects undertaken by the Second Republic to enhance the ease of doing business and trade facilitation for the whole region.

In July 2018, President Mnangagwa presided over a ground-breaking ceremony at Beitbridge Border Post, ahead of its revamp.

Other works included the construction of water and sewer reticulation infrastructure and 220 houses for border staff, a fire station, an agriculture and animal quarantine facility, a new sewer oxidation dam and 11,4 megalitres water reservoir, and the upgrading of a section of the Beitbridge-Harare Road.

In an interview yesterday, Mr Ncube said they are now winding up all the construction works including the out-of-port projects.

"We should be done by the end of this month and what is left are ancillary works including erecting signage to direct the flow of traffic to the correct terminals. We have the freight, buses, light vehicles and pedestrian terminals and all processing different categories of traffic," he said.

In August last year, President Mnangagwa commissioned the new freight terminal, ICT facilities, and bus terminal.

The freight terminal opened to traffic in October 2021 while the bus and light vehicles terminals opened for business in June and December last year respectively.

Mr Ncube said in terms of the general outlook of the project including out-of-port works, a bulk of work was completed as per the given timelines.

"Under the out-of-port works projects there is the construction of a staff village for border workers with 220 housing units, an 11,4 mega-litres water reservoir, a new fire station, an animal plant and quarantine facility, and a sewer oxidation dam. All these have been completed and handed over to the Government," he said.

Mr Ncube said the creation of the three terminals has resulted in border authorities being able to offer customised services to each type of traffic and it's bearing fruit.

"Following the automation of services, the human interface between border authorities and clients that creates room for rent-seeking activities is gradually being eliminated," he said.

He said at a later stage, they will introduce another module called the automated number plate reader.
Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) commissioner for customs and excise, Mr Batsirai Chadzingwa said: "We are happy with the new state of affairs at the border where most of the services have been automated and this has seen us improve our way of doing things."

He said at the moment the volume of traffic cargo is increasing daily as more transporters start realising the premium of using the port of entry.

"The introduction of the preclearance system for all imports and exports has helped reduce the turnaround time people are spending at the border," he said.

The acting head of immigration, Mrs Canisia Magaya said the modernisation of the border post has improved the flow of traffic and service delivery.

She said they are handling an average of 9 000 travellers daily with the figures increasing to about 30 000 during peak periods.

"We are also happy with the introduction of the biometric system which has helped reduce criminal activities at the port. Touts and conmen are now easy to detect and control, and between 11 June and 17 June, we rounded up 987 people for violating immigration and border laws".

Source - The Chronicle