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Chirundu border now open 24 hours

by Staff reporter
16 Oct 2023 at 06:05hrs | Views
The Chirundu One-Stop border post is now operational 24 hours a day, a move driven by Zimbabwe and Zambia to boost intra-Africa trade and handle the increased traffic from Beitbridge and Forbes border posts, along with traffic from both nations.

Previously, the border operated from 6 am to 10 pm, but the addition of a third shift allows for continuous operation. It's the second border post, after Beitbridge, to provide 24-hour service.

Chirundu Border Post plays a vital role in trade connections from South Africa to Zambia and other northern countries. It was essential for this border post to match Beitbridge's operating hours.

The extension of Chirundu One-Stop border post's operating hours was announced in a Statutory Instrument gazetted last Friday by Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage Minister Kazembe Kazembe. This change aligns with the government's commitment to improve the ease of doing business by removing trade barriers that could hinder economic activity.

Economic analysts noted that the 24-hour service at Chirundu Border Post offers significant benefits to the economy. Dr. Langton Mabhanga from the Africa True North Strategy Institute stated that this expansion aligns with the spirit of African integration, as demonstrated by the African Continental Free Trade Agreement, a theme highlighted during the African Union summit earlier that year.

Another analyst, Mr. Kelvin Machoko, emphasized that the 24-hour service would contribute to the country's GDP by increasing revenue through heightened economic activities like taxes, levies, and fees. He also noted that the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) would collect more revenue due to increased activities, as service providers would extend their operating hours.

Members of the Shipping Agencies Association welcomed the extension, recognizing that it would facilitate trade and reduce congestion at border points.

In preparation for 24-hour operations to support trade, Finance and Investment Promotion Minister Professor Mthuli Ncube inaugurated staff accommodation for the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra). He pledged continued government support for border post infrastructure.

Chirundu was the first one-stop border post in Southern Africa and has served as a benchmark for countries developing similar projects. This development aligns with the government's long-term national and economic goals, including revenue collection and trade facilitation as outlined in the National Development Strategy 1.

Efforts are also underway to upgrade the Harare-Chirundu Highway, an integral part of the north-south corridor, connecting Zimbabwe with South Africa, Zambia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Tanzania. This project aims to address road conditions and ensure smoother transportation.

Additionally, work is ongoing to transform Beitbridge Border Post into a One-Stop Border between Zimbabwe and South Africa. The initiative includes constructing a third bridge across the Limpopo River to facilitate commercial traffic. This transformation simplifies border operations, making them more efficient and paperless, while reducing opportunities for rent-seeking activities between border agencies and users.

Source - The Herald
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