Thupeyo Muleya, Beitbridge Bureau
GOVERNMENT continues to breathe new life into Beitbridge and has since committed $1 billion to resume work on the construction of a new Vehicle Inspection Department (VID) depot in the border town as part of efforts to decongest the modernised border post.
Presently, VID services are being offered at Beitbridge Border Post.
Government has engaged a new contractor, Exodus and Company, for the VID depot and the project is part of efforts to minimise traffic clogging at Beitbridge Border Post, which is undergoing massive transformation under the ongoing US$300 million modernisation and upgrade.
Government departments and agencies which will be relocated from the border post upon completion of the modernisation and upgrade project, include the Agriculture Plant Inspectorate and Environmental Management Agency (EMA).
The nearly complete plant and animal quarantine centre being constructed under the Beitbridge border modernisation project will enhance the country’s capacity to control exports and imports of related products.
Already, the Zimbabwe National Road Administration (Zinara) has opened an inland office in the border town with a few critical staff operating at the border.
The construction of the new VID depot, which is located some 5km north of the border post, is progressing well with most of the structures at roof level.
In an interview yesterday, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure Development Engineer Theodius Chinyanga said the construction work of the new VID depot, started in 2019, but the project was shelved following the outbreak of Covid-19.
“As you may be aware, in 2020 until late last year, the Covid-19 pandemic had an impact on construction activities resulting in stoppage of works and the VID depot project was also affected,” he said.
“The construction works only resumed after the easing of Covid-19 lockdown restrictions. At the moment the contractor is busy at the site and they are mounting the roof trusses. The roofing sheets are expected to be delivered before the end of the year.”
Eng Chinyanga said more civil works will resume early next year, depending on the availability and release of funds by Treasury.
“So far, we have used $290 million while the Government has committed $1 billion for the remaining works in the 2023 budget allocations,” he said
Eng Chinyanga said in terms of the work plan, all the outstanding works are expected to be completed by August next year.
“To date, the contractor has dug workshop trenches, finished yard surfacing as well as office housing structure. There are some outstanding works, most of which are to be done in 2023, and at the moment, the contractor is working on the roof,” said Eng Chinyanga.
“Some of the outstanding works include the construction of a weigh bridge, inspection shed, public toilets and the erection of a palisade fence, security lighting among others.”
In August, President Mnangagwa commissioned some of the completed works under the US$300 million Beitbridge Border Post modernisation and upgrade project.
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 being spearheaded by the Second Republic across the country, which have 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 being 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 include the construction of water and sewer reticulation infrastructure and 220 houses for border staff, a fire station, a new sewer oxidation dam and 11,4 megalitres water reservoir and the upgrading of a section of the Beitbridge-Harare Road.
Article Source: The Chronicle