Thupeyo Muleya, Beitbridge Bureau
A Bill to establish the National Ports Authority (NPA) that will run the country’s border posts is now at the drafting stage, a Cabinet Minister has said.
In an interview on the sidelines of President Mugabe’s 93rd birthday party in Matobo, the Minister of Transport and Infrastructure Development, Dr Joram Gumbo said the process had gathered momentum.
He said the NPA would run the ports of entry under his ministry.
Dr Gumbo said Cabinet had already approved the decision to set up the agency and that the Attorney General’s office was now busy drafting the Bill.
Dr Gumbo said the authority will deal with operations, administrative, security and health issues at border posts, among others.
““The authority will be an independent body dealing specifically with issues regarding the operations at our border and not bogged down by technical issues. It is very critical that we make our ports of entry user-friendly for regional and international trade.
“The Attorney General’s office is now drafting the law to legitimise such an authority and we are very happy with the progress on the ground,” said Dr Gumbo.
The minister said when the AG’s office is done with drafting, the Bill will be tabled before Cabinet for further action.
He said under the envisaged order, the NPA will have a board made up of stakeholders from different ministries to run the affairs at border posts, with his ministry playing a supervisory role.
He bemoaned the status quo at the country’s ports of entries where there is no lead agency to run their affairs.
“We want a situation where operations are coordinated from a central point to avoid discord,” he said.
Some of the stakeholders at border posts include; Department of Immigration, the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra), police, Ministry of Health, Environmental Management Authority, Forestry Commission, Veterinary Services and a private security company among other security agents.
South Africa has a similar agency which falls under its Ministry of Home Affairs.
It is reported that the delays and inefficiency in some departments at the country’s ports of entry are a result of lack of monitoring and accountability.
The Minister said the coming in of the NPA is bound to improve service delivery.