CABINET is evaluating the three tenders from companies Government short-listed for final selection to upgrade and modernise Beitbridge Border Post in a move which will improve efficiency and ease congestion.
“The tenders have been submitted to Cabinet and are being evaluated. It may take some bit of time since it is a big project but the Infrastructure Development Bank of Zimbabwe, as Government financial advisor, looked into the contracts and made recommendations,” said a source close to developments.
This comes after Government short-listed three companies last year for final selection to undertake the upgrade and modernisation project under a build operate and transfer arrangement.
Beitbridge Border Post handles most of the traffic to and from South Africa, which is Zimbabwe’s single biggest trading partner. Finance and Economic Development Minister Patrick Chinamasa is on record saying that Government requires an estimated $100 million to upgrade the border post to international standards.
Minister Chinamasa said that Beitbridge, being the busiest entry point in Southern Africa, continued to be a major bottleneck to smooth flow of traffic, both goods and people due to inadequate facilities.
A research by Mr Watson Munyanyi says in recent years, Southern Africa has witnessed an increase in the volume of commercial and private cross-border traffic. This has put pressure on inland ports of entry as well as sea ports with the Beitbridge Border Post handling the largest volume of traffic in Southern Africa.
“However, there has been no significant infrastructure development in the past decade. Incidences of smuggling and other illegal activities have increased. The existing infrastructure fails to contain the volume of traffic, enabling travellers to evade duty payment.”
The upgrade and expansion of Beitbridge Border Post will encompass an upgrade of the road network to and from the border post, perimeter fencing and gate control infrastructure, parking areas, commercial centre, staff accommodation, weigh-bridge, upgrading of communication, security and lighting systems, computerisation and construction of a new bridge among others.
Home Affairs Deputy Minister Obedingwa Mguni said in an interview last year that the upgrading of the Beitbridge Border Post would expedite processes ahead of implementation of the one-stop border post concept between Zimbabwe and South Africa.
“At the moment, we are looking at proposals made by three companies over the border upgrading programme. We are attending to the matter with the urgency it deserves. You must also note that the take-off of the project might take a while because we need to be thorough in choosing the final developer, considering that this is a build-operate and transfer set up,” he said.