Finance Minister, Mthuli Ncube, Saturday commissioned 20 new housing units for ZIMRA staff built at a cost of US$4m at the Chirundu Border Post.
Speaking during the commissioning ceremony, Ncube said Chirundu, which is the first One-Stop border post in Southern Africa, was an important link of trade from South Africa to Zambia and other countries in the north.
“This project is important not only in that it goes a long way towards meeting the housing needs of ZIMRA’s staff, but even more critically, in that it helps in the long run to ensure that our government meets its long term national and economic objectives through ZIMRA’s revenue collection and trade facilitation efforts,” Ncube said.
Although volumes of trade have increased in the past few years Chirundu Border Post is only restricted to 10 hours of operation daily, unlike the BeitBridge Border Post, which operates 24-hours daily.
Ncube said government is, however, considering making Chirundu a 24-hour border post due to increased volumes of trade being currently experienced.
“The need to make this border post operate on a 24-hour basis is increasingly becoming imperative in order to facilitate trade, and this will mean even more need of accommodation for staff. We will therefore continue to support the infrastructure budget to that end,” Ncube said.
ZIMRA commissioner-general, Faith Mazani, said the move to provide housing for ZIMRA staff “would go a long way in motivating” them.
“It is our hope that these units will also reflect ZIMRA’s and government’s common commitment towards addressing housing challenges at all our border posts,” Mazani said.
She added: “We realise that in order to continue to deliver on our revenue collection mandate we have to support our staff by providing the tools of trade, infrastructure and the enabling environment for them to implement government policy and strategy. Chirundu’s 20 housing units are a small but important step towards bettering our employees working conditions.”
Mazani also disclosed that several other housing projects were underway at other border posts.
“Providing decent housing for staff at our border posts has been and will remain our top priority, and I hope and trust that this is one of the many occasions we will have to avail better accommodation for the man and women stationed at our different border posts,” she said.
She added: “In Kazungula construction of four staff houses using a similar design is in progress. In Beitbridge we have 36 by one-bedroomed residential flats that are undergoing construction. Victoria Falls and Forbes Border Posts are also earmarked for similar construction work.”
- The correct cost of the housing project is ZWL$4m instead of US$4m , Zimra said it was a typographical error.