Beit­bridge res­i­dents want share of bor­der rev­enue

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - National News - Thu­peyo Mu­leya

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

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