Rwanda-Burundi Establish Second One-Stop Border Post

Rwanad-Burundi OSBPA one stop border post has been established at Ruhwa in Rusizi District order to reduce the amount of time spent by traders clearing goods at the Rwanda-Burundi border. The one-stop border post is also expected to bolster trade between the two countries and see an infrastructure overhaul at the border area, according to the Minister of State for Transport, Dr Alexis Nzahabwanimana.

Under the one border post, travellers will access services at one spot unlike in the past when documents were processed at two locations – one in Rwanda and the other across the Burundi border. The process will now take about five minutes as opposed to 30.

With the new system, immigration, emigration and customs officials from the two countries share offices to ease the clearance procedures for travellers entering or departing either country.

Dr Nzahabwanimana observed that the post is an indication of existing good relations between the two countries and that it will “strengthen brotherhood between our peoples and boost trade between our two countries.”

“The post will ease the movement of people and goods,” Nzahabwanimana on Wednesday. “It will also reduce delays that people incurred while clearing at the border in the past.”

He urged employees to seize the opportunity and improve on the quality of services they provide. He also advised them to exploit modern technologies if they want to make a difference in what they do.

Burundi’s Minister of Transport and Public Works, Deogratias Rurimunzu described the move as “another step forward in the cooperation and friendship” between Rwanda and Burundi. He observed that the border will promote bilateral trade and cooperation abetween both countries.

“Work diligently, use your skills, pto provide better services and put these infrastructures to good use for them to benefit our population,” Rurimunzu told employees at the border post.

About the project

The idea to establish the one-stop border post was first floated in 2009. It is part of a larger project which comprises border infrastructures including administrative blocks, staff quarters, a warehouse, a weighbridge, social facilities, street lighting and water sources, among others.

The project also comprised the renovation of a 50.6 kilometre road between Nyamitanga and Ruhwa on the Burundian side as well as the construction of Ntendezi-Mwityazo Road on the Rwandan side.

The project was sponsored by the African Development Bank (AfDB), at a cost of about Rwf32billion on either side of the border. Ruhwa one stop border post is the second shared between Rwanda and Burundi following the establishment of the Gasenyi-Nemba border post in Bugesera district in 2011. Source: The New Times, Rwanda

Beit Bridge afloat!

I received the following pictures purportedly of traffic under siege at the Beit Bridge border post 6 days ago. Normally its the sweltering heat which man and truck have to contend with. The pictures suggest severe flooding creating anxious moments for transporter and pedestrian alike. According to the Zimbabwe Herald, authorities closed the border to traffic after the Limpopo River flooded leaving the new Limpopo Bridge inaccessible.

Beit Bridge – ZIMRA and Immigration gear up for congestion

beitbridge

Beitbridge – crossing the Limpopo river

The Department of Immigration in Beitbridge has put in place mechanisms aimed at dealing with congestion at the country’s busiest border post in anticipation of an increase in the volume of traffic during the festive period. Assistant regional immigration manager in charge of Beitbridge Border Post, Mr Charles Gwede, said they have since held a series of meetings with key stakeholders and their South African counterparts to address congestion at the border.

“We have started preparing for the festive period in anticipation of a huge influx of travellers and all necessary strategies are now in place to help speed up the clearance of people during the festive period,” he said. “We are suspending leave and off-days for staff between 15 December and 16 January next year.

“As part of our decongestion drive we will scramble our shifts to maximise on manpower during the normal and extra peak days. In fact, starting from 15 December we expect a huge influx of travellers hence between 14 and 17 December, 21 and 24 December and 4 to 7 January, we will dissolve our shifts to ensure that we have more officers per shift who would effectively manage the queues and speed up the clearance process,” he said.

Mr Gwede said they were expecting 20 officers from other stations to beef up the local staff and ensure that all check points and counters were adequately manned. Beitbridge Border Post has a staff complement of 47 officers and support staff.

“As border stakeholders, we held several inter-border meetings with our South African counterparts to discuss and explore ways and strategies aimed at dealing with congestion during extra peak periods.

As part of their decongestion strategy, Mr Gwede said they would categorise travellers and create more counters to reduce queues. According to statistics, immigration officials at the border handled 73 825 travellers between Monday and Wednesday on both arrival and departure sides.

The Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) spokesperson, Mr Canisio Mudzimu, said they would deploy relief officers to Beitbridge Border Post to beef up the local staff and help speed up the customs clearance process. “We are geared up in terms of facilitating the smooth movement of both human and vehicular traffic passing through Beitbridge Border Post during the festive season. We will deploy extra officers from less busy stations to Beitbridge Border Post during the festive period and to assist in border operations,” he said.

Beitbridge Border Post requires at least 247 customs officers to man it. The border post, which is the country’s busiest inland port of entry, has an establishment 141 officers. Mr Mudzimu said they would create separate traffic lanes to cater for tourists, returning residents, private motorists, commercial, buses and pedestrians to speed up the flow of traffic and reduce congestion.

Touts and bogus clearing agents continue to find their way into the customs yard where they would swindle unsuspecting travellers of their money under the guise of offering assistance. Beitbridge is the busiest inland port of entry in sub-Saharan Africa, which handles a huge volume of both human and vehicular traffic passing though daily. Commercial trucks destined for East and Central African countries such as Tanzania, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Zambia also pass through the border post.

On a normal day, the border handles between 6 000 and 8 000 travellers daily with the figures rising to 20 000 during the peak period. Source: Bulawayo24.com

Zambia – government to crack whip on crossborder smuggling

New Kasumbalesa border post facility - time to jack up cross-border security

New Kasumbalesa border post facility – time to jack up cross-border security

Copperbelt Permanent Secretary Stanfold Msichili says Government will enhance security measures to curb rampant illegal activities at Kasumbalesa Border Post which threaten public security. Mr Msichili has also directed Chililabombwe acting District Commissioner, Frank Siatwinda, to establish how Congolese managed to set up a booming trading place on the Zambian soil where assorted wares were being sold.

He said the Government would find a lasting solution to combat rampant illegal activities which threatens public security and that there were plans to engage concerned parties from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The Open Market has been built on our land because of its proximity to the trading area. It will not be easy to control the situation but Government is committed to finding a long-term solution.

Mr Msichili was saddened that scrap metal from DRC, which was banned for export in that country, was being smuggled into Zambia and reloaded for onward transportation to South Africa. He’s adamant that these issues should be addressed by the police, customs and immigration because we are allowing scrap metal to pass through the country. Earlier, Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA) Kasumbalesa Border station manager Levy Simatimbe told Mr Msichili’s delegation that illegal activities were rampant at the border with some Congolese traders at the controversial Open Market on the Zambian side selling the banned alcohol, ‘Tujilijili’.

During the tour, Kasumbalesa police assistant superintendant Anthony Mphanza said the existence of the Bilanga Township, a few metres from the Zambian side where the population of foreigners was swelling posed a security threat. The Bilanga Township may encroach the Zambian side because its population of foreigners was concentrating along the areas where there was potential for trading in essential basic commodities, like maize meal, cooking oil, sugar, timber, household items, among other items. Illegal trade in cement was becoming a huge public concern at the border. It is estimated that about five tonnes of cement was illegally sold to DRC everyday. Congolese freely come to Comesa Market at Kasumbalesa Border to sell and buy different items. They carry about 10 bags of 25 kilogrammes on a bicycle. Source: The Times (Zambia)