Masvingo City Council is struggling to raise R400 000 to pay a South African consultancy firm for a financial feasibility report that would help it secure loans to upgrade its water supplies to nearly 60 megalitres daily and end crippling shortages.
Most suburbs in the country’s oldest town barely have enough water, with pumping and purification capacity standing at less than 30 megalitres, which is less than half of the daily water requirements.
Council was seeking a US$60 million loan from China Export and Import Bank (China Eximbank) for phase 2 of the water augmentation project that would double the city’s water pumping, purification, conveyancing and storage infrastructure to 60 megalitres daily.
Town Clerk Mr Adolph Gusha said council needed a Government guarantee to access the loan which could only be negotiated upon production of the financial feasibility report.
Mr Gusha yesterday said the Chinese financier also required the same report which it could only avail after the South African consultant had been paid.
He said shortage of foreign currency had stalled production of the feasibility report critical to unlock funding for the water expansion project.
“We contracted a South African firm to do a financial feasibility report for our water expansion programme which will cost about US$60 million,” said Mr Gusha. “We applied to the Reserve Bank for R400 000 to pay the consultant before release of the feasibility report.
“At the moment, we are still waiting for the RBZ to give us the foreign currency, we made our request sometime last year and we are still waiting. Once we get the foreign currency we will get the report and everything will start moving.”
Mr Gusha said his council would only engage Government over a loan guarantee for the China Eximbank loan after securing the financial feasibility report.
Masvingo’s water problems have persisted over the past five years and recently worsened after a major breakdown at the Bushmead Water Works plant on the shores of Lake Mutirikwi.
Source : The Herald