BY MTHANDAZO NYONI
THE need to make Chirundu Border Post operate on a 24-hour basis is increasingly becoming apparent after volume of trade through the border increased significantly, Finance and Economic Development minister Mthuli Ncube, has said.
Chirundu currently operates for about 10 hours a day, clearing at least 350 trucks, but a sudden surge in traffic has seen trucks spending up to five days at the port of entry, denying the country millions of United States dollars in potential revenue.
Officiating at the commissioning of Chirundu Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) staff housing units on Saturday, Ncube said government would continue to support the infrastructure budget to enable the border to operate on a 24-hour basis.
“Chirundu is one of our key links of trade from South Africa to our neighbour, Zambia and other countries in the north through the 24-hour Beitbridge Border Post. We have also seen the volumes of trade through Chirundu increase with increasing feeder traffic from Beira through Forbes,” Ncube said.
“The need to make this border post operate on a 24-hour basis is increasingly becoming imperative in order to facilitate trade and this will mean even more need of accommodation for staff. We will, therefore, continue to support the infrastructure budget to that end.”
Ncube said Chirundu was the first one-stop border post in southern Africa to be established, and has hosted a number of countries who have come to benchmark in their development of similar projects in the region.
Beitbridge Border Post and Chirundu are considered to be among sub-Saharan Africa’s busiest ports of entry with hundreds of southward or northward commercial trucks passing through the two border posts everyday.
Beitbridge is the busier of the two.
Under the one-stop border post scheme, travellers are cleared just once for passage into another country, hugely addressing issues of delays, which are often experienced at most border posts as well as promote the smooth flow of goods by removing restrictive operational procedures at borders.
In the long run, the project seeks to harmonise customs and immigration laws at border posts within the Southern African Development Community region.
Ncube commissioned 20 Zimra staff houses built at a cost of $4 million.