$6bn infrastructure spend revs up economy

25 Aug, 2020 - 00:08 0 Views
$6bn infrastructure spend revs up economy

The Herald

Golden Sibanda Senior Business Reporter
THE Government has spent $6 billion on infrastructure development, as at the end of last month, out of the $25 billion that is being mobilised for investments across various capital formation projects and economic enablers.

The infrastructure is important for faster economic growth and alleviation of poverty in the country.

Adequate infrastructure in the form of road and railway transport systems, power, airports and their efficient functioning is also critical for integration of the economy with other economies of the world.

Notwithstanding pressures from the Covid-19 pandemic, which has stretched Treasury resources and pace of projects execution, the Government continues to prioritise ongoing critical infrastructure projects.

According to a Treasury update of progress on wide ranging reforms being implemented by Government since President Mnangagwa took over in November 2017, focus remains on key projects that include roads, energy, water and sanitation.

The update document details progress on programmes across the broad spectrums of political, Government, institutional, and competitiveness reforms.

Political reforms entail alignment of laws to the new constitution, constitutional amendments while reforms around Government and institutional operations cover devolution, state enterprises changes, compensation to former white farmers and architecture of budgetary transparency.

Competitiveness reforms span across issues pertaining to Zimbabwe’s ease of doing business, which have already seen the country improve on the World Bank 2020 rankings to 140 from the previous position of 155, representing a jump of 15 places.

Treasury said it had ring-fenced resources towards the key projects, critical for enabling the doing business environment.

“The 2020 Budget targeted to raise $25 billion for infrastructure development. As at end of July 2020, $6,6 billion had been invested and the remainder of $18 billion would be raised and injected during the last half of 2020,” Treasury noted.

Energy projects entail the continuing construction of Hwange Thermal Station units 7 and 8 expansion project, which is 45 percent complete, together with rehabilitation of other thermal power stations. In April 2018, the Government saw the completion of the Kariba South units 7 and 8 for an additional 300 megawatts, which forms part of efforts to end chronic power shortages. Sinohydro, which delivered Kariba, is also the one working on Hwange.

Additionally, investments in power projects include promotion and development of solar and alternative energy sources such as solar and gas, facilitating involvement of private players.

In terms of roads and air, the Government is widening and rehabilitating the Harare-Beitbridge highway as well as other roads, expanding the Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport and constructing the new Parliament Building.

Further, the Government is also working on the dualisation of Harare to Mutare and Harare to Bulawayo highways and rehabilitating the majority of urban roads while construction of the Binga-Karoi Highway is reportedly already in motion.

Under water and sanitation, the focus is on the Causeway, Shangani and Marovanyati Dams, while urban water projects include Bindura, Chivhu, Semwa, Tuli and Manyange Dams as well as Victoria Falls water and sanitation and Chiredzi water and waste water management projects.

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