By Rungano Dzikira
The Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (ZIMRA) is set to embark on expansion of Forbes-Machipanda Border Post (Mutare) following an increase in traffic volume and commercial activities along the Beira-Zimbabwe corridor as the trade route is proving viable for most traders.
Following a tour by the Ministry of Transport last week, the revenue authority together with the ministry is set to increase manpower while plans to expand the port of entry are afoot.
“Plans are underway to facilitate the proposed expansion and ZIMRA is in the process of engaging responsible authorities for the provision of space for the expansion of the border,” said ZIMRA acting head of corporate communications, Taungana Ndoro.
He acknowledged the need for this upgrade saying that there has been a surge on the traffic using this route as it had become a preferred choice for those who previously used the Beitbridge route, as they had since abandoned the route due to rampant crime (especially car theft) and people now preferred the Beira (Mozambique) route.
“Unlike other border posts, Forbes does not have commercial vehicle parking facilities where trucks can park while awaiting clearance of their cargo.
“At the same time wheat and fertiliser which usually used rail from Maputo have since resorted to road due to the dilapidated rail infrastructure in the country,” he added.
Previously, Provincial Administrator for Manicaland Mr Edgar Seenza submitted application to ZIMRA and immigration department for extension of operating hours at the border posts to 24 hours as part of efforts to improve efficiency and ease the congestion currently experienced at the port of entry as it currently operates between 6am and 8pm on a daily basis.
Government is also reported to be considering setting up three new ports of entry along the Zimbabwe- Mozambique border to aid decongest Forbes border post.
Zimbabwe shares the longest border with Mozambique.