Govt admits bungling delays investment deals

TRANSPORT and Infrastructural Development minister Joram Gumbo has said the deal for the dualisation of the Harare-Beitbridge road was delayed because of lack of a legal framework to undertake the contract, an admission that the government lacks strong laws to implement such investment projects.

STEPHEN CHADENGA

Joram Gumbo

Joram Gumbo

Speaking at the groundbreaking ceremony for the dualisation of the road at Chaka business centre on Thursday, Gumbo said the government signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Austrian company, Geiger International almost six years ago, but the absence of a legal framework delayed its undertaking.

“Government signed an MoU for the contract with Geiger International in 2012, but lack of a legal framework slowed the pace (for its undertaking) until 2016, when the deal was signed on August 22, 2016,” he said.

Critics have argued that lack of strong national legislation has affected the successful implementation of public-private partnerships.

Over the years, Zimbabwe has been a signatory to numerous MoUs with foreign investors, but the deals are yet to be implemented because of a weak legal framework for their execution.

Although the government has made efforts in putting reforms for the ease of doing business, some foreign investors still shun engaging the country because of unfavourable and inconsistent policies as well as corruption.

Meanwhile, motorists have to brace for more toll gates after Gumbo indicated that these would be added along the Harare-Beitbridge route, as the contractor seeks to recoup their investment.