Thupeyo Muleya, Beitbridge Bureau
BEITBRIDGE residents have called on Government to avail adequate funding in the 2018 national budget towards completion of outstanding projects under the Beitbridge Redevelopment programme.
Participants who attended yesterday’s 2018 pre-budget consultation meeting organised by the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Budget and Finance, expressed concern over delays in completion of outstanding projects under the programme, which started in 2006.
Committee chair, Mr David Chapfika also noted that the project had taken longer than necessary and recommendations would be made to the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development for consideration.
“It has become apparent that Beitbridge plays a key economic role in both international trade and the movement of people within Sadc hence its transformation should be accorded the urgency it deserves,” he said.
“Some of the issues coming out from the people, are that Government should accelerate infrastructure development in and around the town, including housing for Government workers.
“In addition, we have noted that inadequacies relating to accommodation are affecting staff deployments and this is also taking a toll on the ease of doing business and efficiency management at this port.”
Some residents urged Treasury to avail funds for the opening up of two more border posts in the district to diffuse the pressure on Beitbridge, which is the sole port between South Africa and Zimbabwe.
It is understood that resource shortages have stalled the opening of proposed tourism borders at Shashe on the west and Chituripasi on the east of the town.
He said it was important to look at infrastructure development at the border post, which is also key to the implementation of the one stop border post concept.
“Other issues include funding aimed at developing education, health, water infrastructure, communication facilities, women and youth empowerment among other issues.
“So far we are also happy with the level of co-operation from all the centres we have visited. It is pleasing to note that many people are coming prepared and are in touch with economic issues on the ground,” said Mr Chapfika.
Beitbridge also raised concern that the Ministry of Tourism had failed to investigate the continued closure of hotels in Beitbridge, which also formed the backbone of the hospitality industry in the area.
The Parliamentary Committee has been divided into two teams to gather submissions in the northern and southern regions of the country. It has so far covered Gweru, Zvishavane, Gutu, Masvingo, Beitbridge and Gwanda.
“Tomorrow (today) we will be visiting Bulawayo and Lupane and conclude our mission in Victoria Falls on Friday.
“We also want to urge the media to support this national cause by raising awareness on our programmes. We have noted that the information is not getting to the citizens as per our wish,” said Mr Chapfika.