Office of Nqobile Bhebhe Bulawayo
The massive infrastructure development projects underway in the Matabeleland region and across the country are a testament to the fulfillment of the ruling ZANU PF government’s promise to the electorate and its commitment to transforming Zimbabwe.
Chairman of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Budget, Finance and Economic Development, Dr. Matthew Nyashanu, said so on Wednesday after completing a three-day tour of major investment projects in the region. .
Contrary to past complaints about the perceived marginalization and underdevelopment of the Matabeleland region, the Second Republic under President Mnangagwa is leading by example in terms of promoting inclusive development across the country.
This has seen a full rollout of major infrastructure projects in the provinces of Matabeleland, including the $300 million Beitbridge modernization project, the construction of Gwayi Shangani Lake, and the pipeline connecting the water body to Bulawayo.
The government is also implementing the $1.5 billion Hwange Unit 7 and 8 expansion projects, which have created 3,000 jobs. There are several projects covering road rehabilitation and health infrastructure development, among others.
The projects are at advantageous stages of completion with Gwayi-Shangani Lake at 67% and Hwange expansion works at 89%. Despite the intermittent challenges and disruptions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, the project is on track to meet the set deadlines.
The first phase of the energy project is expected to be commissioned in November this year, while Unit 8 is expected to be ready in February next year. Work on the giant project began in August 2018 following a groundbreaking ceremony by President Mnangagwa.
The project aims to transform the country’s power generation capacity and ensure the country’s energy sufficiency with an addition of 600 MW from the two new coal-fired units.
After visiting the three projects to familiarize themselves with the progress made to date, the committee was impressed with the milestones achieved so far, which demonstrate that achieving the goals of Vision 2030 is possible.
Dr Nyashanu said the three projects they visited were among the top priorities at the national level, alongside others as outlined in the National Development Strategy 1 (NDS1), which gives impetus to Vision 2030 .
“We would like to commend President Emmerson Mnangagwa and his leadership team for doing such outstanding work across the country and fulfilling the election promise, which is to deliver much needed public services,” Dr Nyashanu said.
“In Beitbridge, we saw the border expansion project, which is quite massive, go through a build, operate and transfer agreement.
“As a committee, which has a role under Section 299 of the Constitution to oversee the expenditures and revenues of the government, we here exercise our oversight role to obtain that much needed appreciation of how the resources of the national budget are deployed and we are happy with how they are being used.
Dr Nyashanu said his committee was impressed with the partnership between Zimbabwe and Sino Hydro Power Company, in particular, which is carrying out work on the extension of Hwange Units 7 and 8.
He said the collaboration came at a crucial time when the country is still reeling from very difficult circumstances and other exogenous factors including sanctions.
The chairman of the committee said these partnerships were key to advancing the country’s infrastructure agenda, which aims to provide much-needed public services.
“I must also point out that we are very much on track with achieving our Vision 2030 goals, a vision that is true for Zimbabweans,” he said.
“I believe the work that has been done so far for the Beitbridge, Gwayi Shangani and Hwange Unit 7 and 8 projects is very commendable.
“Many Zimbabweans across the country may not be aware of what the Second Republic is doing, but we need to make sure people are aware of this work.
“We have been informed that the Hwange Unit 7 Expansion Project is expected to be commissioned in November this year and the Unit 8 Project by March 2023.
“That’s what we want to happen so that the 600 MW that we intend to get from these projects can be fed into the national grid and ensure that we don’t have a lot of blackouts. “, said Dr. Nyashanu.