Joseph Madzimure and Wallace Ruzvidzo
PRESIDENT Mnangagwa yesterday witnessed the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the Ministry of Health and Child Care and a United Kingdom-based company, NMS Infrastructure, with the aim of improving primary healthcare in Zimbabwe through a US$200 million deal.
He said the investment by the UK-based firm was a manifestation of the re-engagement policy.
“It is the first private investment from the UK for over two decades, so this is a result of our re-engagement policy,” said President Mnangagwa.
Health and Child Care Minister Dr Obadiah Moyo said the development implies that Zimbabwe’s healthcare would be spruced up to the tune of US$200 million, a major achievement “especially so because this loan facility is coming through a British company”.
“Inasfar as what is actually going to happen, this is very much in line with our primary healthcare approach because we are going to get at least 30 rural clinics, rural centres, rural hospitals. So there will be about four in each province,” he said.
The company is expected to build three hospitals, each with 120 beds. Dr Moyo said NMS Infrastructure would also re-equip local facilities.
“We have got a shortage of equipment for quite a long time, so this will rejuvenate the healthcare service of Zimbabwe,” he said.
The investor plans to start working from next week.
Secretary for Finance and Economic Development Mr George Guvamatanga said from a funding perspective, they were happy with the due diligence carried out on the contractors and the funders.
“I think the way this is going to be funded is actually ground-breaking for Zimbabwe. We are using both regional and international funders and international insurers who will provide the bulk of the funding to the tune of US$190 million.overnment will provide around US$10 million.
“The contractors are already on the ground. They have already started looking at some of the sites where the Ministry of Health intends to have the health facilities. So from a funding perspective, this is one of the most efficient funding methods that we have been able to use in this country and we have not utilised that kind of funding maybe for the past two or so decades,” said Mr Guvamatanga.
NMS Infrastructure head of business development Mr Nick Oliver said: “We are very honoured to have been asked by Zimbabwe to come and look at the healthcare for the people of Zimbabwe. We are already operating in the continent. We are building in Ghana, Côte d’Ivoire, Zambia; so we are delighted to come here.”
Mr Oliver said they will be looking at up to 1 500 workplaces for construction workers and that will start “very shortly”.
He said Zimbabwe had started a process in the world market, which had brought “much excitement” across the world.
Another British firm, Boustead Beef, is working on reviving the Cold Storage Company (CSC) in a joint venture deal worth US$130 million.