Zimbabwe: Govt Keen to Localise Construction of Key Infrastructure Projects

Local construction companies and developers must bid for capital projects as Government has no intention of awarding tenders particularly on road rehabilitation, to foreign developers.

Speaking at a South Africa-Zambia and Zimbabwe Infrastructure Summit and Expo which started on Wednesday here, Transport and Infrastructural Development Minister Joel Biggie Matiza yesterday said over-reliance on foreign investors was partly to blame for country’s failure to rehabilitate its road network.

Minister Matiza said major road projects, namely Beitbridge-Harare-Chirundu, Harare-Nyamapanda, Harare Ring Road and Beitbridge-Bulawayo-Victoria Falls are still open to local investors.

“There was over-reliance in wanting to get our roads done by foreign investors but now we have overturned that as Government. For example, the Beitbridge-Harare Road has five contractors each of them doing 100km for the next two years. There are provisions that if they don’t satisfy then another takes over, hence there’s competition,” said Minister Matiza.

“We make sure there is quality control in the projects, that’s the paradigm shift we have made to ensure we have domestic investors doing our projects. This is the template we will be using going forward.”

Minister Matiza implored Government ministries and parastatals to second officers who are attached to different industries for training saying Government wants to deliberately train people in relevant skills as the country forges ahead with its vision for an upper middle-income economy by 2030.

“In the next phase we don’t want to see foreign investors in our projects. This is not because we are being averse to foreigners but we want to see our people investing,” said Minister Matiza.

He said most of the road projects will be rehabilitated through the Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) model.

The four-day summit, which ends tomorrow, tackles infrastructure issues including opportunities and challenges in the region.

Discussions are around revitalising the rail network, road system, airports, border posts, water and energy sources which are key to regional integration and development.

Minister Matiza said Zimbabwe’s road and rail network system deteriorated in the last 20 years owing to lack of funding, illegal sanctions and abuse of the road fund among other challenges.

He said the Second Republic was working hard to reorganise the management of infrastructure and projects.

Minister Matiza said Zimbabwe was key to Southern Africa’s development as it was the gateway to the region hence the need for integration by all countries in infrastructure development.

“This summit is key because we don’t operate in silos, hence we have to cooperate as countries,” he said.

He said Government was finalising the terms of reference for investment towards rehabilitation of National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) , the backbone of the economy.

Minister Matiza said over the years Government has been hiring equipment for infrastructure rehabilitation but now through its public-private-partnerships policy it had made it deliberate that every activity is tendered to close leakages.

Indonesian Ambassador to Zimbabwe and Zambia Dewa Juniarta Sastrawan said the Asian country was willing to partner Zimbabwe in infrastructure projects.

He said Zimbabwe was important for world trade because of its strategic geographic location.

“Zimbabwe is very important for connectivity despite being landlocked. Its rail system is crucial as it connects to the region. We are ready to assist as much as we would want to go to Zambia and Mozambique,” he said.

The conference is being held under the theme “Infrastructure key to economic growth and shared prosperity.”

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