Tendai Mugabe Senior Reporter
Following several months of vehicle number plate shortages, Government has tasked innovation hubs at universities to come up with a patent system for local production of plates with adequate security features.
This came out during yesterday’s Cabinet meeting which also received a number of reports on the implementation of the fourth 100-Day Cycle Priority Projects.
Addressing journalists during a post-Cabinet briefing at Munhumutapa Government Offices in Harare yesterday, Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa said the Government resolved to pursue local options to help create employment for local scientists and save foreign currency.
“Following a presentation by the Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development on the need to produce number plates locally as an import substitution strategy, Cabinet tasked local innovation hubs to come up with a patent for the local production of number plates with the requisite security features,” said Minister Mutsvangwa.
“Cabinet is confident that the move to produce number plates locally will ease the current shortages being experienced in the country due to the limited availability of foreign currency. The local production of new number plates will also increase the utilisation of the country’s resources, including local scientists, and create employment for citizens.”
Minister Mutsvangwa said her Energy and Power Development counterpart Fortune Chasi gave an update on progress on the expansion of two units at Hwange Power Station.
She said Transport and Infrastructural Development Minister Joel Biggie Matiza gave a detailed report on roadworks underway across the country.
Minister Matiza had updated Cabinet on the completion of the rail-road bridge on the Harare-Bulawayo Road in Norton which now awaits commissioning.
Minister Matiza also briefed Cabinet on the completion of 28,6 km of the 48,2 km Mhandamabwe-Chivi-Tugwi Road which is now open for traffic.
Approaches for three bridges ravaged by Cyclone Idai on the Wengezi-Chimanimani Road – Umvumvumvu Number 2, 3 and 4 were now complete and open to open to traffic.
On the new Hwange 7 and 8 units, Minister Chasi reported that: “The expansion of Hwange Thermal Power Station’s units 7 and 8, which is envisaged to add 600 MW to the national grid, is progressing well, with all the geotechnical investigations having been completed and design reviews, excavations and site levelling at an advanced stage.
“The completion of the expansion works will help ease the power supply challenges currently besetting the country.”
Minister Chasi also gave an update on the completion of 92 out of the 2 010 transformers to be manufactured countrywide under the Transformer Manufacturing Project.
Under the Smart Metering Project, Minister Chasi told Cabinet that 404 out of the targeted 2 000 smart meters configured with GSM Sim Cards have been installed while under the Rural Provinces Grid Extension projects, 31 of the 35 targeted institutions comprising schools and clinics have been grid electrified, with prepaid meters connected.
Minister Mutsvangwa said Women Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Minister Sithembiso Nyoni presented a detailed report on projects being undertaken by her Ministry.
The projects included the work on the upgrading of a Technology Centre at Harare Institute of Technology and a Common Facility Centre in Chinhoyi.
She said funding for 30 small and medium enterprises projects in Manicaland, Masvingo and Matabeleland North had been secured, while monitoring of the funded projects is ongoing.
Minister Mutsvangwa said Environment, Tourism, Climate and Hospitality Industry Mangaliso Ndlovu reported on projects under his ministry.
She said another report on the 100-day cycle priority project was presented by Minister of Local Government and Public Works Cde July Moyo covering the construction of the ZRP Tomlinson Depot Flats in Harare and upgrading of the Mabhula Sewer Treatment Plant in Zvishavane Town among others.
Minister Mutsvangwa said Minister of Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation Kirsty Coventry informed Cabinet that: “The National Sport and Recreation Strategy has been reviewed and is set to be benchmarked with international best practices. The establishment of the Tabudirira Vocational Training Centre tomato processing plant in Mutoko, Mashonaland East Province is at 60 percent completion and on course.”