via Zinara mulls development plan – DailyNews Live 18 June 2015
HARARE – The Zimbabwe National Roads Administration (Zinara) has dangled the idea of a corridor master development plan (CMDP) towards the dualisation of the Beitbridge-Chirundu road, which emphasises the upgrading of key constituent elements such as the southern border post.
This comes as the roads manager has complained that a raft of taxes on its $206 million Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA) loan have impaired some of its programmes and a key committee on the Joint Ventures Bill (JVB) has called on joint efforts in the development of the major highway.
“Policy direction is that we should pursue full dualisation of this road (Beitbridge) and the requirement of which is in excess of $2 billion. This quantum of financing is not easy to secure and with the problem exacerbated by demands for a return on investment within the shortest possible time,” Zinara board chairman Albert Mugabe told Parliament this week, adding his organisation was, however, still hamstrung by the court case over that project.
“The key, therefore, to enhance the project’s attractiveness is to look at the macro-context and incorporate elements (that can) improve financial viability. This means we cannot just look at the artery from Beitbridge–Harare–Chirundu as a road, but rather an economic corridor, whose principal element is the road,” he said.
“The first step then is to develop a CMDP, which will identify constituent elements that can augment and support the road’s viability. For example, Beitbridge Border Post must be upgraded and expanded, and Zinara recognises this entry point, through our Act to build and expand tolling points as well as ancillary infrastructure,as a tolling,” Mugabe added.
According to the Zinara chairman, such elements include roadside service providers, notably truck-inns, and settlements, while places like Masvingo and the Beitbridge border town itself can be transformed into major participatory engines for that economic corridor.
In his thinking, Mugabe feels places like the southern border town can be used to tap the goods normally found in Musina and other transitory communities around Zimbabwe’s borders for availability in places like Beitbridge, and which will bring increased taxes through enhanced economic or trade activities.
“This ideology brings to the fore (the) otherwise hidden value of the road and thereby enhancing contributions to the… viability of the project,” he said, adding they were currently “compiling information around the CMDP”.
The debate around Zinara’s possible takeover of the Beitbridge Border Post also comes amid incessant complaints about unnecessary bottlenecks at the country’s entry points, which can cause cargo delays of up to two weeks and a major cost driver for consumer goods.
Zinara as a purveyor of logistics must ensure efficiency. This means attending to the long overdue requirement of infrastructural upgrade at the ports of entry while concurrently addressing the disrepair of the arteries that lead to these ports.