By Nyemudzai Kakore and Virginia Kashiri
Government is finalising a $153 million loan agreement with China’s Eximbank, part of which will be used to spruce up the Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport, Transport and Infrastructural Development Minister Dr Joram Gumbo has said.
Minister Gumbo said this while addressing students of Joint Command and Staff Course Number 31 at the Staff College on Thursday.
His presentation covered strategic issues affecting the preservation, maintenance and renewal of transportation infrastructure.
“In respect of the rehabilitation of Robert Mugabe International Airport, the loan of $153 million for the project was signed between the Chinese Government and the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development,” he said.
“They are now engaged on the finalisation of the loan agreement.
“It is indisputable that sound infrastructure and related services are key enablers to a country’s economic growth and competitiveness. Infrastructure and services have an impact in almost every sector of the economy, especially the key productive sectors such as agriculture, mining, manufacturing and tourism, which are major contributors to a country’s gross domestic product (GDP).
“The major factors affecting infrastructure availability in the country include resource constraints, obsolete equipment and vandalism. Road, railway, aviation networks and water related infrastructure across the country have not seen major improvements in recent years.”
Minister Gumbo said an estimated $5,5 billion was needed to rehabilitate the country’s road network, while $2 billion was required to turnaround the National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ).