The expansion of the Mutare Dry Port to decongest Forbes Border Post will be accelerated, with Treasury funding and this will help and spur economic activity in line with Vision 2030, Finance and Economic Development Minister Professor Mthuli Ncube has said.
Besides the dry port, Prof Ncube said Government would seriously consider opening up more border posts in Manicaland to complement efforts to ease congestion at Forbes Border Post.
Mutare is not the only planned dry port being developed.
Government designated Masvingo, Bulawayo, Makuti in Mashonaland West and Mutare as areas where customs dry ports linking the country with the rest of the world on different corridors, would be established.
Speaking during a tour of manufacturing industries in Mutare at the weekend, Prof Ncube said the Mutare facility was of major importance considering the city’s proximity to the port of Beira.
“We are seized with that matter (of the dry port) working with Zimra to increase the facility for the Mutare dry port,” he said.
“It is very urgent and it will decongest Forbes Border Post, so we are pushing ahead with that project.
“Of course, there are other similar projects like the Chirundu, Bulawayo and Masvingo dry ports that we are working on.
“The Forbes one is very urgent and we will make sure we allocate the budget for that.”
Prof Ncube said the dry port facility alone would not be enough to decongest Forbes, hence the need to open up more ports of entry.
Manicaland has over the past few years advocated the establishment of three new ports of entry at Katiyo, Burma Valley and Cashel Valley to complement the Forbes, Machipanda and Espungabeira border posts, which have been struggling to cope with increased traffic.
“The Minister of State for Manicaland (Dr Ellen Gwaradzimba) and I also discussed the need to open smaller border posts so that we first decongest Forbes border post, because whether we build a dry port or not, it will not sufficiently decongest the border,” said Prof Ncube.
“So, this is something that we will discuss with my colleagues in relevant Ministries so that we can agree on which of the smaller ports we should open first and make that decision together.”
Prof Ncube said the visit to Mutare was a way for him and his officials to meet with business and assess the situation on the ground so that they can be able to fine-tune policies and issues that should be included in the 2021 National budget.