Govt frustrates border post investor, $250 000 fund likely to be withdrawn

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By Alois Vinga

GOVERNMENT has been accused of ignoring an investor who has dangled a $250 000 pledge to construct Katiyo Border Post in Mutasa, a development meant to reduce the distance travelled when one wants to access neighbouring Mozambique.

The reluctance to engage the investor, Business has learnt, could see the investor walk away much to the disadvantage of a country that is keen on seeing investors come to Zimbabwe.

Mutasa Rural District Council’s chief executive, George Bandure told the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority’s top officials on the sidelines of a ZIMRA Local Authorities Breakfast meeting recently that the country could not afford squandering an opportunity that could make the lives of people in Mutasa and Zimbabweans wishing to travel into Mozambique easier.

“The Katiyo Border Post significantly reduces the distance between Zimbabwe and Mozambique and there is an investor who is willing to inject $250 000 towards construction.

“However, the investor is saying that if government is not serious with the project and continues to delay the gazetting of the project, he will be left with no choice but to divert the funds for other purposes,” he said.

Responding to the issue on behalf of ZIMRA, Batsirai Chadzingwa said that the matter will be urgently looked into.

“While this is news to us, we will urgently link you to our ZIMRA Manicaland Director and move swiftly to ensure that there is dialogue between you and responsible government officials,” he said.

Controversy has surrounded the exit point’s construction as it appears that there may be contesting interests in the project.

In July this year, while addressing a rally at Nedziwa Secondary School in Chimanimani West constituency, Vice President Constantino Chiwengwa revealed that government will construct a proper border post at Katiyo in Cashel Valley to facilitate smooth trade between local communities and their counterparts in neighbouring Mozambique.

“After elections, the new Zanu PF administration has seen it fit to pursue the matter and establish a fully functional border post here. The border post will help boost trade in Cashel Valley,” he said.

Recently, state media reported that government had partnered private players to establish a new border post in Katiyo, in a development that will significantly increase exports from the agriculturally-rich Mutasa district as well as create a shorter route to the sea.

But to date, no concrete confirmations have been made.