Government and the Republic of Botswana have signed a multi-million Kwacha contract with a Chinese contractor for the construction of One Stop Border facilities at Kazungula in Southern Province.
The contract, valued at K263, 670, 419=98, forms Package 3 of the Kazungula Bridge Project and is funded through a loan from the African Development Bank (AfDB).
The multi-million project will consist of 10 main buildings, 800 metres of circulation roads, parking areas and 2.4 kilometres of the main bridge approach road.
Road Development Agency Chief Executive Officer, Kanyuka Mumba, said the intended completion date for the works would be 30 months from the commencement date.
Mr Mumba said the signing of the contract on the larger Kazungula Bridge Construction Project fulfilled the final linkage in the implementation of all the project packages.
“The signing of this contract on the larger Kazungula Bridge Construction Project fulfils the final linkage in the implementation of all the project packages. The Kazungula Bridge Project is considered a priority by the Botswana and Zambian Governments and also supported by SADC,” he said.
He said this in a statement released to ZANIS in Livingstone after the signing ceremony of the Kazungula Bridge Project One Stop Border Post Facilities at Kazungula – Package 3.
Mr Mumba further said, once completed, the main bridge would provide the much needed connection between regional economic areas and link regional ports which handle all exports and imports from and through Botswana and Zambia.
“The bridge will also enhance transportation operations along the regional North-South Corridor, which links the mineral rich regions of Zambia and the Democratic Republic of Congo to Botswana, Zimbabwe and the port of Durban in South Africa,” he said.
Engineer Mumba explained that the One Stop Border Post (OSBP) concept and the construction of the modern border facilities were expected to significantly reduce the border transit times from as much as five days to one or two days.
He was confident that border operations and management would also improve and consequently enhance the regional competitiveness of Botswana and Zambia.
“This development will also improve the regional competitiveness of Botswana and Zambia, in particular, which will in turn boost trade and improve the global competitiveness of the entire SADC region,” he said.
And Southern Province Permanent Secretary, Sibanze Simuchoba, was hopeful the contractor, SEGOCOA, would employ local people as doing so would ensure the participation of Zambians in the project.
Mr Simuchoba said the project would gobble a lot of money but was a worthwhile investment.
Earlier, Botswana Deputy Permanent Secretary for Transport, Isaac Moepeng, said the Kazungula Bridge Construction Project was long overdue as it had been on paper for a long time.
Mr Moepeng said the One Stop Border Post on the Zambian side was an important part of the main project and would lay the foundation for the modern way of doing business.
Speaking through his representative, Pius Seone, who is the Project Manager for the Kazungula Bridge, Mr Moepeng emphasised the need for policy changes in his country and Zambia to facilitate the smooth flow of trade.
Meanwhile, Shen Fengmei, Managing Director for SEGOCOA, the contractor for the project, said her company would work around the clock to ensure the project was completed within the stipulated timeframe of 30 months.
Mrs Fengmei said SEGOCOA would adhere to its contractual obligations to ensure the workmanship on the project was of the highest standard.
SEGOCOA is part of the Anhui Foreign Economic Construction Group Limited.
Package 1 of the Kazungula Bridge Project is the construction of the main Bridge, connecting Zambia and Botswana across the Zambezi/Chobe Rivers and is one of the missing links in the SADC regional trunk road network and works are being undertaken by Daewoo Engineering and Construction of South Korea.
Package 2 involves the construction of the One Stop Border Post facilities on the Botswana side with works being done by Zhon Gan Engineering and Construction while Package 3 is for the One Stop Border Post on the Zambian side.