Beitbridge residents want share of border revenue
BEITBRIDGE residents have called on the Government to start allocating part of the proceeds of revenue collected at the border post towards funding capital projects in the town.
They told the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Finance and Economic Development on Wednesday that the town was not receiving anything from the national budget despite playing a critical role in facilitating international trade.
The Committee chaired by Mutoko South MP, Cde David Chapfika, is on a countrywide tour collecting input from the people on what they wish to be included in the 2017 national budget.
Beitbridge town secretary, Mr Loud Ramakgapola, said most of their infrastructure and other amenities were affected by the large volume of both cargo and human traffic which passed through the town daily.
According to the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra), an average of 500 haulage trucks pass through Beitbridge going either side of the border daily.
Mr Ramakgapola said it was important for the Government to allocate a quota to the town which would be used to fund the rehabilitation and expansion of key infrastructure around the area.
He said Beitbridge was the face of the country for those people entering from South Africa adding that it was very critical to spruce up its image with funds coming from Treasury.
Mr Ramakgapola added that Zimra was collecting an average of $2 million on daily basis at Beitbridge border post, though many capital projects in the town were at a standstill due to an acute shortage of funds.
“We are appealing for Government to consider funding the completion of the water treatment plant which will go a long way in addressing water reticulation challenges. The town is rapidly growing but we cannot make meaningful development without water. The new treatment plant is almost complete but in need of funds before the Zimbabwe National Water Authority (Zinwa) can start pumping water to the residents,” he said.
Ward 1 councillor, Max Chikova, also said the Minister of Finance and Economic Development should allocate more resources to the town for the upgrading and rehabilitation of major roads in the district.
Another resident Mr Elliot Maveza said: “We have one of the major referral hospitals in the country which handles patients from Beitbridge and neighbouring districts, as well as transit population.
“We are calling on the Minister of Finance and Government to increase the budget for health services so that the hospital can be equipped with all the necessary resources including drugs”.
Other residents said the Government should prioritise the construction of more government schools in the town. At the moment, Beitbridge Primary School — which was constructed in 1991 — is the only State owned primary school.
Residents appealed for more funding towards the rehabilitation of major irrigation schemes, which they said were a major economic driver and source of livelihood for people in the district.
Cde David Chapfika