Infrastructure projects fulfil pledges to Matabeleland Dr Matthew Nyashanu

Nqobile Bhebhe Bulawayo Bureau

THE on-going massive infrastructural development projects being implemented in Matabeleland region and across the country are testimony to the fulfilment of the ruling ZANU PF Government’s promise to the electorate and commitment to transform Zimbabwe.

Chairperson of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Budget, Finance and Economic Development, Dr Matthew Nyashanu, said this on Wednesday at the conclusion of a three-day tour of major capital projects in the region.

Contrary to yester-year complaints over perceived marginalisation and under-development of the Matabeleland region, the Second Republic led by President Mnangagwa is walking the talk in terms of fostering inclusive development across the country.

This has seen a comprehensive roll out of major infrastructure projects in Matabeleland provinces, notably the US$300 million Beitbridge Modernisation project, Lake Gwayi Shangani construction and the pipeline linking the water body with Bulawayo.

The Government is also implementing the US$1,5 billion Hwange Unit 7 and 8 expansion projects, which have created 3 000 jobs. There are several projects covering road rehabilitation and health infrastructure development, among others.

The projects are at advantaged stages of completion with Lake Gwayi-Shangani at 67 percent and Hwange expansion works at 89 percent. Despite intermittent challenges and disruption caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, the project is on course towards meeting set timelines.

The first phase of the power project is expected to be commissioned in November this year while Unit 8 is expected to be ready in February next year. Work on the giant project began in August 2018 following a ground-breaking ceremony by President Mnangagwa.

The project is set to transform the country’s electricity generation capacity and guarantee the nation energy sufficiency with an addition of 600MW from the two new coal-fired units.

After touring the three projects to familiarise itself with progress made to date, the committee said it was impressed with milestones achieved so far, which demonstrate that attainment of Vision 2030 goals is possible.

Dr Nyashanu said the three projects they visited are among top priorities nationally, alongside others as outlined in the National Development Strategy 1 (NDS1), which builds momentum towards Vision 2030.

“We want to commend President Emmerson Mnangagwa and his executive team for putting up such sterling work across the country and fulfilling the election promise, which is meant to provide the much-needed public services,” said Dr Nyashanu.

“In Beitbridge we saw the border expansion project, which is quite a massive one run through a Build, Operate and Transfer arrangement.

“As a committee, which has a role in terms of the Constitution Section 299 to oversee expenditure and revenues of Government, we are here carrying out our oversight role to get that much needed appreciation on how resources from the national budget are being deployed and we are happy on how they are used.”

Dr Nyashanu said his committee has been impressed with the partnership between Zimbabwe and Sino Hydro Power Company, in particular, which is conducting works at Hwange unit 7 and 8 expansion.

He said the collaboration has come at a crucial moment when the country is still reeling under very difficult circumstances and other exogenous factors including sanctions.

The committee chair said such partnerships were key in driving the country’s infrastructure agenda, which seeks to provide the much-needed public services to the people.

“I must also stress that we are very much in line with attaining our Vision 2030 goals, a vision which is a true one for Zimbabweans,” he said.

“I believe that the work that has been done so far from Beitbridge, Gwayi Shangani and Hwange Unit 7 and 8 projects is very commendable.

“Many Zimbabweans across the country may not be aware of what the Second Republic is doing but we must ensure that people are aware of such work.

“We have been informed that the Hwange Unit 7 expansion project is set to be commissioned in November this year and unit 8 project by March 2023.

“This is what we want to happen so that the 600MW that we intend to derive from these projects must be able to be fed to the national grid and ensure that we don’t have much power blackouts,” said Dr Nyashanu.

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