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Beitbridge border overhaul looms

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THE government is considering plans to create a separate point of entry for cross-border traders at the Beitbridge border post to ease congestion, Transport and Infrastructure Development minister Obert Mpofu has said.

Beitbridge-border-post
NQOBILE BHEBHE
CHIEF REPORTER

Mpofu’s ministry is now in charge of all the country’s points of entry following the creation of the Border Post Authority (BPA).

He told a Zanu PF interprovincial meeting in Bulawayo at the weekend that the government was worried about the chaos at Beitbridge and was considering a separate point of entry for small-to-medium-scale (SMEs) traders.

“In the past few weeks I have travelled to Beitbridge twice and there is chaos there,” he said.

“We are considering plans to open another entry point where the old border post will be for SMEs and the new border will be for the commercial sector. I will consult stakeholders on this.”

Mpofu yesterday told Southern Eye the government planned to upgrade all existing border posts as well as build new ones in Plumtree and Binga. He said the establishment of the BPA would improve efficiency in running points of entry.

The BPA would be tasked with dealing with problems at the country’s points of entry.

“The government has created a company called BPA that would be in charge of all entry points in the country,” he said.

“Currently, everything is being done haphazardly. The company would work with other stakeholders such as the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) commissioner-general. It would be under the Transport ministry.

“Currently, it is not clear who is in charge of what, especially maintenance of entry points’ infrastructure. Therefore the company will improve efficiency.

“People are ill-treated at entry points, especially at Beitbridge as there is no entity that is solely responsible for travellers.”

However, in April, Zimra commissioner-general Gershem Pasi said the government should shelve the idea of establishing the border authority until it can afford to undertake such a project without straining the country’s fiscus.

Zimbabwe has 15 ports of entry. Beitbridge border post is the busiest inland port of entry in sub-Saharan Africa handling more than 3 500 vehicles and 9 000 people crossing daily with figures soaring to 20 000 during Easter and the festive season.

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