Urban councils’ $2,3bn infrastructure gap

The Chronicle

Oliver Kazunga, Senior Business Reporter
LOCAL authorities in Zimbabwe need a total investment of $2,3 billion for water and sanitation infrastructural development so as to improve service delivery.

The chairperson of the Local Government Investment Conference (Logic), Dr George Makunde, revealed this in Bulawayo yesterday while addressing delegates to the on-going indaba being held at the Zimbabwe International Exhibition Centre.

The conference is being attended by representatives from 32 urban councils under the Urban Councils Association of Zimbabwe.

“In water supply, waste water and solid waste, we’ve tabulated graphically what each local authority requires. We have worked them out from the performance gaps right to the last cent and that gives you the total investment in water, waste water and solid waste.

“We need a total of $2,3 billion in order for water, waste water and solid water to come to levels that are acceptable,” said Dr Makunde.

He said all the 32 urban councils required a congregated amount of $2,3 billion given the general economic challenges facing Zimbabwe.

Dr Makunde said the de-industrialisation experience in the country over the years has seen urban councils failing to utilise the capacity in the industrial sector resulting in local authorities registering low foreign direct investment inflows as well as failing to deliver services.

He said the $2,3 billion which they require can be split into various components in relation to service deliverables provided by local authorities specifically water supply, waste water and solid waste management.

“It takes on board dam construction and it also looks at reticulation line improvements and augmentation of pump stations,” Dr Makunde said.

He said in the master planning process, each local authority has also made a submission in terms of what they would require.

“We have chosen master planning as a quick and low hanging fruit because if we plan properly in terms of coming with a master plan for each local authority and planning decisively and also guided by the principle that let us plan for the next 30 years, we should be able to address all the issues that are a problem,” Dr Makunde said.

“In terms of total cost for master planning, ICTs and urban renewal, $5,6 million is required, which we are looking for 19 local authorities while the other 13 possibly did not submit their requirements or they are happy with their situation”.

The conference ends on Friday. — @okazunga