Daniel Nemukuyu Investigations and Special Reports Editor
THE production of 500 buses offered to Zimbabwe to modernise its mass public transport starts next month, Belarus Chief of Presidential Affairs General Colonel Victor Sheiman has said.
The visiting top Belarusian government official said designs for the appropriate buses for Zimbabwean roads have since been sent to Belarus and engineers from both countries have since confirmed the technical task.
Gen-Col Sheiman arrived at the Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport yesterday morning and is set to meet President Mnangagwa over investments during his three-day visit.
“Specialists from the Republic of Belarus and the Republic of Zimbabwe confirmed the technical task for production of the buses.
“Now Belarusian engineers will now design those buses appropriate for Zimbabwe.
“In about a month or two, we will start producing the buses to enable us to deliver them to Zimbabwe soon. We will also discuss the financial scheme of supply of the buses,” said Gen-Col Sheiman.
Early this year, Belarus offered Zimbabwe a facility of 500 buses for the mass public transport system following the visit by President Mnangagwa to Eurasia.
The Head of State and Government visited Belarus, Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan in a week-long tour of the subcontinent.
In their meeting, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko offered Zimbabwe 500 buses, a boost for the country which is moving towards mass public transportation in line with both the Transitional Stabilisation Programme and Vision 2030 blueprints.
It is estimated that over one million people use urban transport system countrywide.
In April this year, Zimbabwe received 39 buses from South Africa and China to boost the Zimbabwe United Passenger Company (Zupco) fleet.
Another fleet of 47 buses was commissioned by President Mnangagwa mid July, bringing the total number of buses acquired this year from South Africa and China to 86.
Zupco now boasts a fleet of 427 buses that service both rural and urban routes.
Recently Local Government, Public Works and National Housing Minister July Moyo said the expected 500 buses from Belarus will be supplied as knocked-down kits.