Govt to re-organise Beitbridge Border Post

Government is set to re-organise Beitbridge Border Post to improve efficiency at the country’s busiest port of entry.

Source: Govt to re-organise Beitbridge Border Post – NewsDay Zimbabwe August 29, 2016

The re-organisation will be financed with a grant obtained from the African Development Bank under the capacity building for public finance and economic management (CBPFEM) project.

In a notice yesterday, the Finance and Economic Development ministry said it would use part of the agreed amount under the contract for consultancy services for the re-organisation of Beitbridge Border Post.

“The Ministry of Finance and Economic Development is seeking the services of a consultant who will improve the customs clearance procedures as well as other non-custom clearance systems that are associated with the clearance of travellers and cargo at Beitbridge Border Post,” the ministry said yesterday.

“The consultant should propose measures to improve efficiency in all systems, including infrastructure, soft and hard, as well as operating guidelines for Zimra [Zimbabwe Revenue Authority] and other agencies that operate at the border post.”

The ministry said consultants “may constitute joint ventures to enhance their chances of qualification”.
It said expression of interests have to be submitted by September 12 at 10am.

The CBFEM project aims to improve public finance and economic management performance, contributing to macroeconomic stability and poverty reduction.

Its objective is to strengthen the capacity of Zimbabwe’s key institutions responsible for economic and public finance management reforms, monitoring and evaluation, and improved participation of the private sector in economic development.

The border post is one of the busiest inland ports in sub-Saharan Africa, which links the northern and southern corridor, thus becoming a hub for international trade within southern Africa.

It records an average volume of 500 vehicles and 10 000 travellers on a daily basis.

In his 2016 National Budget statement, Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa said despite the high volume of traffic, the border post lacked capacity in soft and hard infrastructure, that includes information technology and inspection bays, among others, to deal with high volumes of traffic.

“Bona fide travellers are, thus, experiencing serious inconveniences taking an average of six to 18 hours to complete immigration and customs formalities. It also takes about three days for commercial traffic to be cleared,” he said.

Chinamasa said whereas the border post should facilitate trade, the delays in clearance of cargo and travellers “have, however, resulted in increased cost of doing business and ultimately the cost of goods and services”.
He said the delays have created rent seeking behaviour, where travellers end up paying bribes in order to facilitate clearance procedures or avoid paying duty.

The Treasury chief said, while government was in the process of upgrading Beitbridge Border Post to international standards, it was necessary to put in place interim measures to alleviate the current challenges and also take advantage of the strategic position of the border post.

The interim measures include the installation of a closed circuit television system, which has so far exposed officials involved in corrupt activities.

“. . . government will engage an independent border post expert to re-organise Beitbridge Border Post. The expert will work in collaboration with Zimra customs officials and report to the chairperson of the Zimra board,” Chinamasa said.