HOME Affairs minister Ignatius Chombo has expressed concern at the chaos at Beitbridge Border Post, saying it was scaring away investors and creating loopholes for revenue leakages.
BY Staff Reporter
Chombo, who was touring the border post on a fact-finding mission last Friday said the situation at one of the busiest inland ports of entry in sub-Saharan Africa was deplorable and exposed the country to revenue leakages.
Over 500 vehicles and 10 000 travellers pass through Beitbridge every day.
“There is organised chaos here which needs to be attended to as a matter of urgency. The port lacks soft and hard infrastructure that includes information technology and inspection bays, among others, to deal with high volumes of traffic,” Chombo said.
“Travellers have to move from one office to another when they can have their papers facilitated under one roof. This has to end.”
Travellers sometimes spend six to 18 hours at the port of entry to complete immigration and customs formalities while for commercial traffic to be cleared it takes about three days.
The delays in the clearance of cargo and travellers have resulted in increased cost of goods and services.
“It is very difficult to differentiate local people and travellers because of this chaos and I have instructed the police to clear the area and ensure that it is easy to tell a visitor and a non-visitor,” Chombo said.
Statistics show that 10 million tonnes of cargo pass through the corridor every year.
“An ideal situation would be all paper work relating to the migration of a person be done under one roof,” he said.
The Home Affairs minister said he was told of various challenges faced by government workers based at the border which included lack of accommodation and transport.
“I will have to engage the Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa over some of the challenges highlighted here,” he said.