Covid-19 poser as trucks overwhelm Beitbridge Border Post

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By Alois Vinga

THE Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) has reported a 100 % increase in the volume of trucks passing through the Beitbridge Border Post.

This comes as a lot of transport firms were avoiding alternative routes due to stringent Covid-19 regulations passed by neighbouring countries.

The increase in the volume of transporters in Beitbridge has created fresh concerns over the possible spread of the pandemic at the busy border post.

In an update recently, ZIMRA Head of Corporate Communications, Francis Chimanda said the situation has reached tipping point.

“ZIMRA is currently clearing and releasing on average +800 trucks per day, compared to an average of +/-400 in 2019.

“The Beitbridge Annual Report for 2019 shows an average of 345 trucks per day,” he said.

Chimanda said the current traffic situation in Beitbridge has seen a near 100% increase in both import and export movement in the last few days.

“The increase has largely been attributed to the different Covid-19 testing protocols implemented by different countries in the region, which have seen transporters diverting their trucks from some routes to and from South Africa and transiting through Zimbabwe, resulting in the increase in the flow of traffic through Beitbridge,” he said.

Chimanda bemoaned the rate with which traffic has imposed unanticipated strain on both border infrastructure and human resources for Zimbabwe and neighbouring country borders.

He said Zimra was taking steps in partnership with various stakeholders, to improve the turnaround time.

Chimanda said the tax authority was working towards maintaining a balance between facilitation, revenue collection, enforcing controls while also being mindful of the Covid-19 virus and protocols that need to be implemented to reduce exposure for clients, employees and our other stakeholders.

“ZIMRA continues to engage with other stakeholders to ensure that our clearance processes and systems are as fluid as possible under the circumstances and the truck flow remains steady and consistently under control,” he said.