$140 billion for infrastructure

Source: $140 billion for infrastructure | Sunday Mail

Debra Matabvu

TREASURY has allocated $140 billion for infrastructure development projects to stimulate economic productivity this year, official data shows.

The projects — under the 2021 Zimbabwe Infrastructure Investment Programme (ZIIP) — include energy, transport, water/sanitation, public amenities and irrigation.

Fiscal resources will account for over half of the budget, with the remainder being sourced through loans, support from development partners, and statutory and public entities’ resources.

While the Covid-19 pandemic has necessitated the reprioritisation of spending from infrastructure development, authorities have ring-fenced funding for critical national projects that stimulate economic development.

According to the ZIIP 2021 report gleaned by The Sunday Mail, the energy and transport sectors will each receive 33 percent of the funds, while water and sanitation will get 10 percent, health (7 percent), education (5 percent) and irrigation (3 percent).

The projects are supposed to have a direct impact on ordinary people’s lives.

“Drawing from National Development Strategy1 (NDS1), the 2021 infrastructure investment programme provides a new impetus in the delivery of projects that support economic recovery and growth, protect lives and livelihoods, create jobs and stimulate productive investment,” the ZIIP report reads in part.

About $76 billion will come from the fiscus, while parastatals’ own resources and development partners account for $9,7 billion and $5,3 million respectively.

Statutory funds from the road and rural electrification funds will provide $8,9 billion in total.

Loans and grants will contribute $40 billion.

Priority areas under the energy sector include the Hwange 7 and 8 expansion project, which is now 44 percent complete.

The Government is set to disburse $32 billion this year towards completion of the project.

In the transport sector, Government is set to disburse $10 billion for works on the rehabilitation and construction of the Beitbridge-Harare-Chirundu Highway, which is set for completion next year.

Of the envisaged allocation, US$31 billion will be drawn from the fiscus, with $24 billion derived from road funds while development partners will contribute $6 billion. Under water and sanitation, the Government has allocated $10 billion for dam construction, with focus on Gwayi-Shangani and Chichi dams that are targeted for completion this year.

“Completion of the Gwayi-Shangani Dam is being accorded top priority, with an allocation of $4,5 billion,” the report says. “Completion of the dam would mark the first phase of the national Matabeleland Zambezi Water project meant to provide a long-term solution to water challenges facing the city of Bulawayo while creating a greenbelt that will benefit communities along the pipeline.”

With regards to the Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport rehabilitation, $3,8 billion will be disbursed through a loan from China during the course of this year.

The eight-month delay due to Covid-19 had resulted in the completion date being moved from 2021 to 2022. Under the agricultural sector, the Government has set aside $3,9 billion for the national accelerated irrigation rehabilitation and development programme.

Economist Professor Gift Mugano said infrastructure projects are of great importance to the economy.

“Infrastructure projects are key enablers for economic growth and by focusing on infrastructure, the Government is stimulating economic growth,” he said.

“The road project, for example, is commendable as it has the potential to bring in investment as well as foreign currency. Irrigation is also another commendable investment as it seeks to mitigate the effects of climate change, given that Zimbabwe is an agro-based economy.”

 

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