TWO NATIONS REPORTER
BEITBRIDGE- President Emmerson Mnangagwa on Wednesday officially opened the state of art US$300 million modernised Beitbridge border post and promised improved service delivery to all stakeholders.
The modernisation project began in 2018.
Mnangagwa was accompanied by Vice President Constantino Chiwenga, Minister of Transport and Infrastructure Development Felix Mhona, Minister of Defence and War Veterans Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri and ZimBorders Consortium chairperson Glynn Cohen.
The US$300 million project was built in three phases, the construction of the commercial terminal which was the first phase was completed and launched in October last year. The second phase was the bus terminal completed early this year and the third phase is a private vehicle and pedestrian terminal which is expected to be completed in November 2022.
Other facilities under the project include a fire station, 220 housing units for Government border workers, a new Vehicle Inspectorate Depot (VID) depot, animal quarantine centre, an 11, 4 Mega-litres water reservoir and the dualisation of a carriageway from the border post to the intersection of the Bulawayo and Masvingo highways.
Mnangagwa said the upgrade was necessitated by the fact that Beitbridge border post is the busiest port of entry in Southern Africa and has the largest volume of traffic and contributes significantly to the country’s income. He also said that the border brings with it an array of benefits for the country and the region through facilitation of trade, investment, business travel and tourism.
“I am pleased to be here to have an appreciation of progress on the upgrade and modernisation of Beitbridge border post and I am happy to have been able to commission this project within two years from inception. This project is a key milestone in the operationalization of the integrated Beitbridge development master plan and also one of the signature infrastructure projects being implemented by the second republic. What will follow after the completion of this site is the construction of a new bridge whose works are underway.
“I am again pleased that this project was named one of the world’s structured investment deals for the year 2022, it was also awarded the winning accolade of global trade review, global deal of the year award for optimization and rehabilitation. We guarantee that all other border posts are going to be modernised by the second Republic,” said Mnangagwa.
Mhona said Beitbridge border post had over the years suffered from a multiplicity of challenges which resulted in trucks and travelers experiencing delays. He added that these challenges had a negative effect of pushing up transport costs.
Mnangagwa also said that ZimBorders Consortium which is carrying out the border modernisation project is likely to take over the Chirundu border post rehabilitation project.
The Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure Development signed a Built, Operate and Transfer (BOT) Concession with ZimBorders Consortium which will see the contractor operating the rehabilitated facility for 17 and a half years and thereafter hand it over to Government.
Mnangagwa also applauded the Government and private sector working relationship which has so far created 1 400 jobs for locals. He said with the modernisation of the Beitbridge border post, traffic will easily travel from the south to the north and there will be need to also modernize Chirundu border post.
“I am pleased that since the opening of the new freight terminal and facilities for commercial traffic, the average waiting time for users has been significantly reduced. The Minister of Finance told me that revenue has tripled here but traffic has not,” he added.
ZimBorders Consortium chairperson Glynn Cohen said he was pleased with the outcome of the project.