Expedite Forbes Border Post expansion, Govt told
Rumbidzayi Zinyuke Manicaland Bureau
Government should expedite the expansion of Forbes Border Post to increase the port’s capacity and ensure that Manicaland benefits from the influx of investment that is now being registered, an official has said.
Speaking at a Manicaland Branding workshop in Mutare last week, Minister of State for Manicaland Provincial Affairs Monica Mutsvangwa said officials at the port were struggling to cope with the amount of traffic passing through on a daily basis.
“The Forbes-Machipanda Border Post is congested,” she said. “We need to come up with solutions. That border post was never meant for big trucks, but they are receiving 100 fuel truckers every day and they are failing to cope.”
The congestion at Forbes, she said, did not encourage businesses to use Mutare as the gateway to the sea, hence the need to come up with ways of making the city a dry port.
“We think Mutare should be a dry port because this is the quickest gateway to the sea, and there is no reason why Zimbabweans should be going all the way to Durban, which is 2 000 kilometres away when Mutare is just 300km away from Harare and 600km from Beira,” said Minister Mutsvangwa.
She commended the amount of investments that had been channelled towards the province in the past year and called on local businesses to play their part in partnering with such investors.
“There are companies that have been doing well in the province and I want to applaud them,” said Minister Mutsvangwa. “Companies like Willowton that have invested in the province and created employment. Mega Market is another major investment.”
Minister Mutsvangwa said the $70 million investment in liquid-fertiliser plants to be made by a South Korean-based company would be a boost for the province, which had vast resources of phosphates that could be used in the manufacture of fertiliser.
“We are looking at agriculture and we know what needs to be done,” she said.
“We have so many phosphate deposits in Dorowa and Buhera. Why is it we don’t have a fertiliser company in Buhera? It can create employment and farmers in Manicaland can have access to cheaper fertiliser.”
Minister Mutsvangwa noted that such an investment would open employment opportunities for locals and increase production, which, in turn, would grow exports that would need to be transported through Forbes Border Post.