Nqobile Tshili, Chronicle Reporter
GOVERNMENT has designated Gwanda District’s Mlambapele as an official port of entry and has set up four dry ports to decongest Beitbridge and Forbes border posts.
Mlambapele connects Zimbabwe and Botswana via Gwanda South, while the new dry ports would be in Bulawayo, Masvingo, Mutare and Makuti.
The dry ports would allow for the clearance of goods inland instead of everything being done at the entry point. Presenting the 2020 national budget on Thursday, Finance and Economic Development Minister Professor Mthuli Ncube said the Mlambapele official port of entry status will be effective from next month.
“In recognition of increased flow of commercial goods imported through Botswana, Government in 2016 commissioned Mlambapele for use as an official entry and exit point. In order to regularise the commissioned border post, thereby enforcing compliance of customs formalities as well as enhancing convenience to travellers, I propose to designate Mlambapele as a Port of Entry, with effect from 1 December 2019. The Port of Entry shall operate from 7.30AM to 4.30PM daily,” said Prof Ncube.
He said Government has set up four dry ports to reduce congestion at Beitbridge Border Post in Beitbridge, Matabeleland South and Forbes Border Post in Mutare, Manicaland.
“Congestion, particularly at Beitbridge and Forbes Ports of Entry, remains one of the major constraints to trade facilitation. This is due to infrastructure bottlenecks, hence the Ports can no longer cope with increased flow of commercial traffic,” he said.
“In order to address this challenge, Government has adopted the Dry Port Concept, whereby commercial cargo is consigned to specified inland facilities pending final clearance. I, therefore, propose to designate Customs Dry Ports in Masvingo, Bulawayo, Makuti and Mutare, in order to relieve pressure on Ports of Entry.”
Prof Ncube said Government is also setting up a Gwanda Customs House. He said the Gwanda Customs House would increase the ease of doing business for mining companies operating within the district. “Furthermore, imports and exports companies that include Blanket Mine, Vumbachikwe and Portland Cement are currently processed in Bulawayo, thereby increasing the cost of compliance. In order to facilitate Ease of Doing Business, I propose to appoint a Customs House in Gwanda, with effect from 1 December 2019,” said Prof Ncube. [email protected]