Address by H.E, The President , Comrade E.D Mnangagwa: Commissioning of the Upgrading and Modernization of the Beitbridge Border Post

It is my singular honour and privilege to officiate at this ground breaking ceremony of the modernisation of Beitbridge Border Post. This milestone achievement will see the transformation of this port of entry to be a more robust and efficient economic enabler to trade, commerce and tourism. Due to its strategic location, this border post, is of great significance as it opens up our country to the rest of the world as one of the busiest inland ports in Sub-Saharan Africa and a strategic entry into the North South Corridor.

This event indeed signals a new beginning, a new Zimbabwe full of hope and immense possibilities. A Zimbabwe open to the region and open to the world; ready to play its part in facilitating regional and continental integration and industrialisation.

 Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen;

Border crossing areas and airports are critical entry points as they give the first impression of any nation and further facilitate the movement of cargo, private persons, tourists and business people alike. The Beitbridge Border Post has for a long time required a facelift and improved service delivery because it handles a bulk of Zimbabwe`s imports and exports as well as significantly contributes to Government`s revenue, hence the decision to prioritise its refurbishment and modernisation.

To this end, Government constituted an Inter-ministerial Committee to oversee the modernisation and improvements of border posts. As a result of a rigorous selection process, ZimBorders, a Consortium of local and international investors, was awarded the contract early this year, to undertake the work we are ground breaking today.

The comprehensive works under the project will be undertaken on a Build Operate Transfer (BOT) model and will see this Border Post modernized by means of the requisite physical infrastructure to be used for cargo and passenger movements. Most importantly, this crucial project will result in multi- faceted growth and development of our economy at a national level.

I am optimistic that ZimBorders will meet the contract specifications which will involve the refurbishment of the road network to and from the border post; separation of traffic inside the border area; construction of passenger, freight and bus terminals; construction of a commercial centre and staff accommodation; construction of a weigh-bridge; upgrading of communication, security and lighting systems as well as the renovation of water and sewer reticulation facilities for Beitbridge Town, among other aspects.

Over and above the physical infrastructure, this project will also see an Integrated Border Management Information System which will smoothen the flow and coordination of operations among all border agencies.

On completion of the modernisation project, the Border Post is anticipated to have the capacity to handle about three times the current passenger and traffic flow. This development signifies exciting times ahead for this border town as it is part of the Greater Beitbridge Master Plan which entails the construction of an international airport and Industrial Parks to complement the envisaged Special Economic Zone status to Beitbridge Town.

The modernisation of Beitbridge Border Post will be complimented by the construction of the           Beitbridge-Chirundu and the Beitbridge-Victoria Falls Highways, which are set to commence very soon. These complementing developments will enable this Border Post to be more competitive by becoming the shortest and most efficient international gateway through which north bound travellers, goods and services can pass.

 Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen;

This development along with others throughout the country represent my Governments resolve to change and modernise our infrastructure as we position ourselves to be a middle income economy by 2030.

Furthermore, commencement of these works is testimony that my administration is action oriented, bold and decisive in decision making and determined to timely implement projects, ease the doing of business and improve service delivery in the national interest and for the good of our country’s citizenry. Let me once again state that “Zimbabwe is Open for Business” and that both local and foreign capital is welcome in our great country.

To the ZimBorders Consortium, I exhort you to carry out this task before you with uttermost diligence and high quality workmanship which is in congruence with the total project value and international standards. In the same vein, I challenge the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development and other relevant stakeholders to closely monitor the work by all contracted parties.

Meanwhile, the commencement of works at this Post should act as a catalyst and spur the relevant stakeholders to move swiftly to ensure that other border posts throughout the country, are also modernised.

Ladies and Gentlemen;

The importance of the modernisation of border posts can never be over emphasised, especially in view of the negative impact of bottlenecks and corruption to convenience of travellers, trade and tourism as well as inflow of revenue into the national fiscus.   We must, thus, re-invigorate our systems and change our work ethic to win back the confidence of transit clients, passengers and hauliers alike.

Equally important is the need for increased coordination between stakeholders, so that clients are not subjected to numerous searches by different entities with duplicated roles or subjected to undue delays as a means to solicit bribes. I direct all men and women within our border control institutions to stop all forms of corruption and chicanery. Perpetrators will face the full wrath of the law. Please stand warned. In the same vein, touts, conmen and others who loiter around the border post area, for various illegal reasons should also stand warned. We are determined to ensure that our border posts are hassle-free, safe and secure.

Furthermore, I urge travellers and traders to take good care of the surrounding environment. ‘Cleanliness is next to Godliness’, so let us desist from littering our border areas as well as the country sides as we travel. Let us all turn a new leaf and strive for a cleaner Zimbabwe.

Distinguished Guests;

As I conclude, I am delighted that the local community will benefit immensely from this project through the employment opportunities for women and youth among others, during its implementation. It is also encouraging that a bulk of the works will be undertaken by local contractors as part of their empowerment and contribution to developmental programmes.

This is a national project as much as it is a local project. Let us therefore work hard to ensure its success with collective dedication in harmony and unity. We cannot solve all our problems overnight, however, through hard work and commitment from all of us; we are indeed on course towards attaining our vision to be a middle income country, with increased investment, decent jobs, broad based empowerment, free from poverty and corruption by 2030.

Together we will rebuild our nation. Together we will build a new and prosperous Zimbabwe for all; not just for today or tomorrow but for generations to come.

Allow me ladies and gentlemen, to thank all the stakeholders who made the realisation of this ground breaking ceremony possible.

With these remarks, it is now my singular honour to declare the Beitbridge Border Post modernisation works, officially commenced.

 God bless you all!

God bless Zimbabwe!

I thank you.

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