Thupeyo Muleya, Beitbridge Bureau
THE Second Republic is among other things prioritising infrastructure development projects some of which are being made possible with aid of a robust private-public partnership model, a Cabinet minister said yesterday.
Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development Felix Mhona said the Government has in the last three years adopted an accelerated drive for infrastructural development.
He said this was part of President Mnangagwa’s vision of creating an upper-middle-income economy by 2030.
Minister Mhona made the remarks after touring the construction works under the US$300 million Beitbridge Border Post upgrading and modernisation project, which is being implemented by the Government and the Zimborders Consortium.
The initiative is a culmination of a concession where Government provides technical support while Zimborders through various institutions, provides funding.
Major civil works are expected to be completed under two years thereafter the Zimborders Consortium will manage the border on a 17 and half years’ Build Operate and Transfer agreement.
Minister Mhona said the commissioning of the first phase of construction works will be done in September by President Mnangagwa.
“The lack of appropriate infrastructure and non-automation at the country’s and Sadc’s busiest border (Beitbridge) had in previous years created a bottleneck to the efficient movement of cargo and people,” said the Minister.
“This created security challenges, congestion, and delays. In order to address some of the challenges here, the Second Republic undertook a project to upgrade and modernise Beitbridge Border Post through a private-public partnership with the Zimborders Consortium.”
He said the Government was happy with the progress on the ground and that all was going as scheduled.
The Minister said the main scope of the project includes the upgrading of the border post with new terminal buildings, commercial facilities for the border post plant, animal quarantine facility and the construction of 264 staff houses for border agencies.
The first phase, he said, includes the construction of internal border infrastructure development – a new freight terminal, scanner facility, gatehouses, and commercial area’s roads and parking, new Vehicle Inspectorate Department buildings, and a maintenance building for use by Zimborders.
“As you are aware, this is one of the busiest borders in our country and Sadc region, and I am sure this is going to be the hub in Sadc in terms of regional and international trade facilitation,” said Minister Mhona.
“We have also started working on the provision of 264 housing units for border agencies which is something that is of paramount importance.
“You will note that previously, we didn’t have accommodation for our people, but as we speak, we witnessed that the contractor is on course in terms of providing the civil works.”
He said within the next six weeks, Zimborders will be starting the construction of the houses to be completed between 2022 and 2023.
The minister said workers were already on site excavating and trenching on areas where sewer, water reticulation, access roads and a 15 megalitres reservoir tank will be located.
He said with the border, most buildings were almost complete with the maintenance terminal having been completed and will be used for administrative issues by Zimborders. [email protected]