Walter Mswazie Masvingo Correspondent
Plans to establish Zimbabwe’s first inland port at Rutenga are gathering momentum with Mwenezi Rural District Council having started crafting a $300 000 master plan for the initiative that is expected to transform the sprawling growth point into a major town.
Once opened, Great Rutenga inland port is envisaged to create more than 5 000 jobs and lead to the rapid growth of Rutenga into one of the biggest and modern urban settlements in Zimbabwe.
Mwenezi RDC chief executive Mr Albert Chivanga on Thursday said the master plan was expected to be completed by the end of June this year.
He said a team of engineers was already preparing for feasibility studies on the project.
“We are presently working on a master plan for the ambitious Rutenga inland port project. The port will be located between Rutenga Business Centre and part of Ngundu Growth Point,” said Mr Chivanga.
“The master plan will cost us $300 000 to complete and we expect everything to be in place by the end of the first half of this year.”
Mr Chivanga said the inland port was expected to transform the face of Mwenezi making the district an economic giant in Masvingo province.
“We are appealing to those who want to do business with us to start engaging council now before it is too late. We have investors from the Diaspora community who have offered to help and are ready to pour money into the project, once certain modalities are done.
“The project has potential to create employment for at least 5 000 people and we are very keen for it to succeed and as council we want to assure investors of our total commitment to this multimillion-dollar project,” said Mr Chi- vanga.
Recently, Masvingo Provincial Affairs Minister Josaya Hungwe told a provincial development committee meeting that the Great Rutenga inland port project was one of the initiatives expected to create quick-win benefits for the province.
Mr Chivanga said Mwenezi RDC has since embarked on a major overhaul of Rutenga’s road network, sewer and water reticulation systems as council seeks to ready the business centre for its looming transformation into a modern city.
The council was also considering public-private partnerships to upgrade other infrastructure at the growth point such as clinics and schools in anticipation of the opening of the inland port.