New system to build varsities

Source: New system to build varsities | The Herald June 12, 2019

New system to build varsitiesProfessor Amon Murwira

Bulawayo Bureau
GOVERNMENT has adopted the Build, Operate and Transfer (BOT) model to replace the Public Service Investment Programme (PSIP), which was stalling development progress in the construction of universities, a Cabinet Minister has said.

Under the BOT model, higher and tertiary institutions partner with the private sector for construction projects at their universities unlike in the PSIP, where Government was solely responsible for funding major projects at the state institutions.

The PSIP model has been blamed for delays in construction works at most institutions with building works at the National University of Science and Technology (Nust) in Bulawayo being an example of the failed system.

In an interview, Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development Minister Professor Amon Murwira  said Government has no money to fund the construction works at universities hence it cannot continue with the PSIP model.

“My main focus, for example with the National University of Science and Technology (Nust), is that all these buildings that were PSIP buildings are now taken over using a different model because PSIP cannot take us anywhere.

“Why, because we know that the Government does not have the money, but we have the means to make people with the money partner us,” said Prof Murwira.

“The policy in the past was that, leave it, when Government has money it will do it, knowing very well that Government does not have the money.

“We have to change course. This is a new path that we are taking to make sure we complete these buildings.

“And the company that builds these buildings is willing to now put them on BOT.”

He said university councils and their management have been given the green light to strike deals under the BOT model without involving the parent Ministry.

This comes as Government has committed to addressing bureaucratic practices while improving the ease of doing business in line with its development thrust.

Prof Murwira said his Ministry has signed 40 Memoranda of Understanding under the BOT scheme.

However, he noted that it’s not all the companies which committed to the projects who will be involved in their works.