via Beitbridge border changes loom – NewsDay Zimbabwe June 25, 2014 by Nqobile Bhebhe
THE government is considering plans to create a separate point of entry for cross border traders at the Beitbridge border post to ease congestion, Transport and Infrastructure Development minister Obert Mpofu has said.
Mpofu’s ministry is now in charge of the all the country’s points of entry following the creation of the Border Post Authority (BPA).
He told a Zanu PF interprovincial meeting in Bulawayo at the weekend that government was worried about the chaos at Beitbridge and was considering a separate point of entry for small to medium scale (SMEs) traders.
“In the past few weeks, I have travelled to Beitbridge twice and there is chaos there,” he said. “We are considering plans to open another entry point whereby the old border post will be for SMEs and the new border will be for the commercial sector. I will consult stakeholders on this.”
Mpofu yesterday told our sister paper Southern Eye that government planned to upgrade all existing border posts as well as building new ones in Plumtree and Binga.
He said the establishment of the full BPA would improve efficiency in running entry points.
The BPA would be an independent body tasked with dealing with problems at the country’s points of entry.
“Government has created a company called BPA that would be in charge of all entry points in the country,” he said. “Currently, everything is being done haphazardly. The company would work with other stakeholders such as (the) Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) commissioner-general. It would be under the Transport ministry.
“Currently, it is not clear who is in charge of what, especially maintenance of entry points’ infrastructure. Therefore, the company will improve efficiency. People are ill-treated at entry points, especially at Beitbridge as there is no entity that is solely responsible for travellers.”
However, in April, Zimra commissioner-general Gershem Pasi said the government should shelve the idea of establishing the border authority until it could afford to undertake such a project without straining the country’s fiscus.
Zimbabwe has 15 ports of entry.
Beitbridge Border Post is the busiest inland port of entry in sub-Saharan Africa, handling more than 3 500 vehicles and 9 000 people crossing daily with the figures soaring to 20 000 during Easter and the festive season.