Innocent Ruwende Senior Reporter
Government is looking at attracting $10 billion worth of investments for a new city to sprout around the new Parliament Building in Mt Hampden.
The new Parliament Building is part of Government’s wider plans to establish a city to house all three arms of the State.
Addressing the media at his offices in Harare yesterday, Local Government, Public Works and National Housing Minister July Moyo said the concept of a new city was informed by modern thinking about futuristic and smart cities.
“All the modern thinking about futuristic smart cities is what is informing us. Going forward, we have talked to our local authorities and informed them that they should be futuristic when constructing even a rural centre,” he said.
Government’s consultant on the project, architect Hillary Mukaratirwa, said all crucial Government departments would set their bases in the new city.
“We are looking at $10 billion investment into the new city. Cities grow in stages, but we are expecting that in five years all crucial Government departments are going to move to the new city.
“For example, the Ministry of Finance, Home Affairs and other Government departments which have nothing to do with the public will move to the new city. It is part of de-congesting Harare. Local Government will stay here together with most Government departments.”
He said there would be a parliamentary village with villas for parliamentarians to avoid wastage of resources in hotel bills for legislators during every sitting.
Mr Mukaratirwa said construction of the new Parliament Building had begun and should take 30 months to complete.
“By the end of 2019 all master plans for the city will be complete. It is going to be a smart city with modern infrastructure. We are in the consultative process. We have to densify because land is finite. We are not going to see 2 000 square metre plots. We are going to build upwards. Densification means that travel distances become short,” he said.
Minister Moyo said the $98 million (RMB 676,43 million) grant from China Aid for the construction of the Parliament Building was the second largest grant that China had given to Africa for such a project.
“The biggest that they gave was for African Union (AU)Building which was built in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. This is the largest that they have built for a country. So we are very grateful to the Chinese that they have seen it fit to do this because of our friendship and because of that the tendering system was done in China, which is normal,” he said.
“When the Americans gave us a grant to buy locomotives, the tender was done for American companies only. Four Chinese companies competed for the tender to build the new Parliament and Shanghai Construction Group won it.”
He said the Chinese would be using a lot of local labour and a small contingent of experts.