Treasury releases $6m more for Lake Gwayi-Shangani 

Source: Treasury releases $6m more for Lake Gwayi-Shangani | The Herald

Treasury releases $6m more for Lake Gwayi-Shangani
Lake Gwayi-Shangani dam

Nqobile Bhebhe in HWANGE

TREASURY has released a further $6 million to steer progress at the on-going construction of the Lake Gwayi-Shangani in Matabeleland North province as Government races towards finishing the strategic national project this year.

The funds will cover expenses for June and coming months with more injections expected later this month.

To date the overall construction progress is at 67 percent, a development applauded by Parliament Budget, Finance and Economic Development Committee members, who conducted a tour of the project yesterday.

In an interview at the dam site on the sidelines of the tour, Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development Ministry’s chief director for water resources, irrigation development and national WASH co-ordination, Engineer Tinayeshe Mutazu, said the funds were a timely boost to the project.

“Treasury has just released $6 million to keep us going for the month of July. We are on course and we believe that with this kind of support from Treasury, we should be able to meet our targets for several months ahead,” said Eng Mutazu.

“We are hoping that sometime this month funding for the next period will come through but we are excited that Treasury has released funding.”

Construction of the Lake Gwayi-Shangani is among Government’s major priorities and is expected to be completed this year after missing last year’s deadline.

The Second Republic led by President Mnangagwa has committed considerable resources to the project, which is among top priorities nationally, alongside others as outlined in the National Development Strategy 1 (NDS1), which builds momentum towards Vision 2030.

The completion of the massive project is expected to transform lives in Matabeleland through the establishment of a 10 000-hectare irrigation belt along the pipeline to Bulawayo.

During the tour, legislators were shown key infrastructure activities with a view to getting an appreciation of the progress made so far and enhancing their oversight duties.

They kicked started the second leg of the tour yesterday morning at Cowdray Park suburb in Bulawayo, a site where trenches for the pipeline project have been dug.

Committee chairperson, Dr Matthew Nyashanu, later told Zinwa officials and representatives of the main contractors, China International Water and Electric Corporation, at the dam site that their visit was not an investigation but a familiarisation by legislators who have not assessed progress covered to date.

He said the committee was impressed with developments, which shows Government’s commitment to complete all national projects not only in Matabeleland but countrywide.

“As a committee we must be able to oversee the expenditures and revenues of Government,” said Dr Nyashanu.

“We’ve heard that the dam is 67 percent complete and we feel you need to help us by saying how much has been paid. If there is 33 percent left in terms of completion, how much is outstanding.

“That is the reason for us being here. We are also here to support what is being done so that we become your voice in Parliament.

“The national budget is authorised in Parliament, so, we want to be your voice in the House. The information we are gathering will be shared with colleagues and we become a collective voice to ensure that this important project is fulfilled.”

Dr Nyashanu added that as a committee, they wanted to ensure that resources spent by the Government on specific projects are monitored and accounted for.

Parliamentarians also heard that progress was severely disrupted between 12 and 21 May after 25 positive Covid-19 cases were recorded on site.

Normal operations only resumed on 22 May.

Meanwhile, at the site, workers were busy at work at various construction points under floodlights. The height of the dam is now at 31 metres out of a total of 72 metres.

Zinwa officials said they are impressed by the quality of workmanship at the dam wall.

Lake Gwayi-Shangani construction is part of the National Matabeleland Zambezi Water Project (NMZWP), which upon completion is expected to provide a permanent water solution for Bulawayo and the entire Matabeleland region.

The project is already employing 500 locals and more will be employed when contractors scale up the laying of the 245km Gwayi-Shangani-Bulawayo pipeline.

Today the committee is set to complete its tour with a visit to the Hwange Power Station Unit 7 and 8 expansion project, whose first phase is expected to be commissioned in November this year while Unit 8 is expected to be ready in February next year.

Work on the US$1,5 billion project began in August 2018 following a groundbreaking ceremony by President Mnangagwa.

The project is set to increase the country’s electricity generation capacity and guarantee the nation energy sufficiency with an addition of 600MW from the two new coal-fired units.