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Towns salivate at reopening of borders

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BY NIZBERT MOYO

BORDER towns have welcomed plans by government to reopen the country’s borders, saying it would provide relief to them in terms of employment-creation and the revival of business.

Victoria Falls mayor Somveli Dlamini told NewsDay that the COVID-19 pandemic had resulted in closure of borders which adversely affected the tourism industry in the resort town.

“We have three borders, which are Victoria Falls, Kazungula and Pandamatenga,” Dlamini
said.

“The closing of these borders affected us severely as business is slow. The reopening of these borders will boost our tourism industry as it is our sole industry and this will create employment.

“People used to get medical treatment in Zambia since their nearest hospitals are in Livingstone, but they could no longer do so due to COVID-19 restrictions,” he said.

Beitbridge town clerk Loud Ramakgapola said: “It will be a big relief for residents of this town as they rely on cross-border trade.

“The spin-over will be payments of rates and other charges for the municipality. Most of our ratepayers are informal traders who rely on cross-border business. If the border is closed, business is low.”

Last month, government announced that the Victoria Falls and Kazungula border posts would be reopened to fully vaccinated tourists.

During post-Cabinet briefing on Tuesday, Information minister Monica Mutsvangwa said the government’s decision to reopen the Victoria Falls and Kazungula border posts to fully vaccinated travellers was in response to requests by the tourism industry.

Mutsvangwa said more than 60% of the population of Victoria Falls had been vaccinated.

Beitbridge, which is the busiest port of entry into Zimbabwe, is yet to open.

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