Golden Sibanda Senior Business Reporter—
ACTING President Emmerson Mnangagwa says Government contracts foreign companies to undertake multi-million dollar infrastructure projects because of limited financial capacity, but the country possesses the skills to undertake such projects.The Acting President said Government is in the process of dualising the Harare-Beitbridge road, Harare-Chirundu road and will construct a ring-road around Harare, using contracted foreign firms due to lack of financial resources to fund the projects.
Government recently signed an agreement with Swedish firm Geiger International for the dualisation of the Harare-Beitbridge highway. The project is valued at $984 million. A separate contract will be signed for the Harare-Chirundu road.
“We have skills among you to design, construct and maintain and dualise roads in this country. We have the skills among you, to maintain rail lines, construct new networks, but because we do not have financial strength to do so we have to get loans.”
He said this in his official speech as guest of honour at the inaugural Zimbabwe Project Management Awards on Tuesday, which was also attended by other senior Government officials.
Acting President Mnangagwa said it was important to make self introspection of what the country had, the direction the country wanted to go and the capacities it possessed.
He said Zimbabweans had the capacity to develop everything they might aspire to, producing the highest quality standard of workmanship and doing it at a pace that suits them.
The Acting President said Zimbabwe had lots of skilled people and technocrats working in other countries and occupying high positions who could bolster development back home.
“We are determined to create an environment, on the basis of our own resources, which we must mobilise, to develop our economy and attract skills of our people outside the country,” he said.
Earlier, the Acting Head of State had said Government was happy that a lot of Zimbabweans were now dumping the worker mentality in favour of building their own companies.
He said Government’s goal was to create an empowered society and growing the economy, as envisaged in Zim-Asset, President Mugabe’s 10-Point Plan and his December State of the Nation Address, industrialisation strategy and Command Agriculture vision.
“The 2017 National Budget, whose theme is appropriately captured as “Pushing Production Frontiers Across All Sectors of the Economy”, is premised on reversing the prevailing mentality of trained personnel being content to remain as employees.
“Consequently, it exhorts trained personnel to be ingrained with an entrepreneurial and project-based orientation across all sectors of the economy,” he said.
Acting President Mnangagwa said promulgation of Statutory Instrument 64 of 2016 offers corporates, companies and individuals’ immense opportunity for retooling and developing new innovations and greenfield projects to grow the economy.
On projects management, he said the discipline was important as it had an effect on the quality of infrastructural services offered by a country and was therefore a cornerstone of Government’s economic policy and strategy for the ongoing recovery.
The Acting President said there was evidence of positive co-relation between infrastructure and economic development of a country, as infrastructure results in greater market reach as well as faster and cheaper movement of people and goods.
“For these economic and social objectives to be fully realised by countries, it is necessary that development of such projects be carried out efficiently, in terms of quality, cost and speed.”
He said in recognition of the critical importance of capital formation, Government had allocated $520 million, 15 percent of the 2017 National Budget, to capital programmes.