WATCH: Beitbridge sets pace for other border posts

The Chronicle

Mashudu Netsianda in Beitbridge 

PRESIDENT Mnangagwa yesterday commissioned the US$300 million Beitbridge Border Post modernisation and upgrade project as the Second Republic makes a bold move towards implementing innovative financial instruments and solutions to modernise seamless and cost effective national and trans-boundary infrastructure.

The model, which will be replicated in other inland ports of entry, brings with it an array of benefits for the country and the entire Sadc region through the facilitation of trade, investment, business travel and tourism

The project whose ground breaking ceremony was presided over by President Mnangagwa in July 2018, is one of the key economic and developmental initiatives being spearheaded by the Second Republic.

The project has transformed the face of the border town and created more than  1 400 jobs for locals in line with the National Development Strategy 1 (NDS1) and Vision 2030, which seeks to attain an upper middle-income economy.

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

The project was named as one of the well-structured investment deals for the year 2020. It was also awarded the winning accolade of Global Trade Review Global Deal of the Year Award for Optimisation and Rehabilitation.

In his keynote address soon after touring the completed works under the massive project, President Mnangagwa said the new look border post will ease  movement of goods and people within the Sadc and contribute significantly to the overall industrialisation agenda and economic growth of the region.

“My Administration remains determined to continue unlocking innovative financial instruments and solutions to restore, develop and modernise seamless and cost effective national and trans-boundary infrastructure for the benefit of our people and economy. This Beitbridge Border Post modernisation project brings with it an array of benefits for the country and the region as a whole, particularly through the facilitation of trade, investment, business travel, and tourism,” he said.

“The ease of movement of goods and people in the Sadc region through this port of entry will contribute significantly to the overall industrialisation agenda and economic growth of the region as envisioned in the Sadc Industrialisation Strategy and Roadmap.”

The project is a key milestone in the operationalisation of the Integrated Beitbridge Development Master Plan and stands out as one of the signature infrastructure projects being implemented, to date, by the Second Republic, said the President.

“The scope of works of this project will undoubtedly see this port of entry facilitate the smooth discharge of the statutory functions of various stakeholders as well as result in a seamless link of our economy with other jurisdictions along the North-South Corridor,” said President Mnangagwa. 

He said the project gives prominence to the shared aspirations for greater regional integration and cooperation, as outlined in the Regional Infrastructure Development Strategy. 

“The high impact project will have far reaching spin-offs for sustainable socio-economic development for the peoples and economies of our Southern Africa region,” said President Mnangagwa. 

He said the modernised and upgraded sections of the border post are testament to the efficacy of the Government’s “Zimbabwe is open for business” philosophy. 

“It further resonates with the ongoing thrust of building the Zimbabwe we all want, brick by brick, stone upon stone. The completed parts prove that success is indeed when Government and the private sector work together towards the development of a nation,” said President Mnangagwa. 

“This is more pertinent as we seek to strengthen value chains at both regional and continental level.” 

In line with international trends, and to further improve the quality of services in the transport sub-sector, President Mnangagwa said his Government will also accelerate the upgrade and modernisation of other border posts, including Chirundu, Forbes, Plumtree, Nyamapanda, Kazungula and Victoria Falls. 

“We are also aware that the development of these border posts must be augmented by other complementing infrastructure for the efficient transportation of goods, movement of people and provision of services. In that vein, my Government remains committed to ensuring that our major highways and feeder roads are speedily modernised,” said President Mnangagwa. 

Riding on the notable successes made by local companies on the Beitbridge-Harare Road, President Mnangagwa said Government is determined to move on to modernise the Harare- Chirundu and Beitbridge-Bulawayo-Victoria Falls roads.

The project was inspired by the fact that Beitbridge Border Post is the busiest point of entry into our country, handling the largest volume of traffic into Southern Africa.

“Against this backdrop, the landmark project entails construction and upgrading of terminal buildings, vehicle inspection and parking bays. Additionally, office space, information and communication technology, surveillance technology, as well as truck and baggage scanners are also being modernised,” said President Mnangagwa.

New cargo scanning equipment has been installed to allow for faster inspection of goods and detection of fraud, contraband and potential threats such as explosives and radioactive materials among others.

“Benefits also accrue to inbound and transit freight clearance as well as customs clearance and immigration procedures. The administration of import and export, toll fees and duty payment collection has been improved, while warehousing facilities are being expanded,” said President Mnangagwa.

Manual unloading and inspection has been reduced following the installation of a new ICT system which allows an automated queuing and payment system for truckers.

President Mnangagwa noted that since the opening of the new freight terminal and facilities for commercial traffic, the average waiting time for users, has been significantly reduced.

“Going forward, I exhort employees of the various agencies at our ports of entry to uphold the highest standards of integrity and professional ethics in sync with the work culture of the Second Republic,” he said.

The President said border posts are the face of the country and must be a physical embodiment of the national character, defined by values of hard honest work, patriotism and the commitment to serve in the best interest of the country. “In the same vein, I urge exporting entities, cross border traders and travellers, among other users of our ports of entry, to be responsible and law-abiding citizens,” he said.

The Beitbridge Border Post Upgrade and Modernisation Project is not only confined to improvements in the border control zone, but is also set to benefit Beitbridge Town as a whole, said the President. 

“In this regard, modern housing and other social amenities for the employees of the agencies managing the Beitbridge Border facilities, are also being constructed. The new 11.4 mega litre water reservoir and the attendant water conveyance system will go a long way towards increasing the water supply in Beitbridge Town.”

Equally, the President said the upgraded sewer oxidation plant and the refuse disposal system will enable the local authority to manage waste and refuse in a more environmentally sustainable manner. 

To bolster Beitbridge municipality’s capacity to respond to fire and other related disasters, a newly constructed fire station was handed over to the local authority. 

President Mnangagwa challenged Beitbridge Municipality to adopt projects and programmes aimed at beautifying the open spaces and other buildings, in the spirit of the National Clean Up and Beautification Agenda.

Earlier President Mnangagwa toured the 220 housing units for Government workers during which he was impressed with progress made so far. The houses will be completed next year. [email protected]

Article Source: The Chronicle

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