Govt to upgrade infrastructure at border posts

The government says it will next year upgrade infrastructure at the country’s border posts in order to improve their operations and boost economic activity.

Ports of entry, whose operations had for the greater part of the year been suspended to curb the spread of Covid-19, are a major source of revenue for the government in the absence of a thriving industry.

“Existing infrastructure deficiencies and operational arrangements at some border posts promote inefficiencies which cost the economy,” said Finance and Economic Development Minister, Mthuli Ncube, while presenting the 2021 national budget last Thursday.

“Hence, upgrading of infrastructure at ports of entry is critical in improving border operations, processes and procedures that facilitate intra-regional trade, as well as movement of people, goods and services. Therefore, the 2021 budget has set aside resources amounting to

ZWL$1.5 billion towards upgrading of facilities at ports of entry.”

The Finance and Economic Development Minister said in order to facilitate movement of goods and people there was a need to improve coordination of government departments working at the country’s borders, improve border crossing procedures, and install modern Information Communication Technologies (ICT) systems and facilities.

“Under the National Development Strategy 1(NDS1), it is proposed that a National Port Authority be established to oversee the efficient management of our ports of entry,” said Ncube.

“The financial closure for the Concession Agreement for the upgrading and modernisation of Beitbridge Border Post between government and Zimborders Consortium under a Build Operate Transfer arrangement, has been concluded.”

He added: “Some works commenced in March 2019 using equity funding, with the

EPC contractor, Raubex Group Ltd, having undertaken construction of the maintenance building, construction of road for light commercial vehicles, civil works on the access routes and freight warehouse platform.”

Meanwhile, the country’s main border ports are set to reopen for private motorists and pedestrians on December 1 with buses expected to be allowed passage in the first quarter of next year.

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