Prosper Ndlovu Bulawayo Bureau
Implementation of the Gwayi-Shangani Dam project in Matabeleland North Province has resumed following the allocation of resources by Treasury, President Mnangagwa said yesterday. A major component of the National Matabeleland Zambezi Water Project (NMZWP), the Gwayi-Shangani Dam project has been in limbo for years due to lack of funding.
The project requires an estimated $53 million.
President Mnangagwa told thousands of people as he officially opened the 59th edition of the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF) that the dam project was significant in power generation as well as water supplies for the region.
“The construction of the Gwayi-Shangani Dam has resumed in earnest following the requisite budgetary allocation, and is expected to generate power and also increase water supply and availability to the region,” said the President.
Last month, President Mnangagwa pledged to ensure the project was completed by next year, as well as speed up other outstanding projects in Matabeleland.
“I have made a promise to the chiefs ukuthi idamu leli lizaphela next year. Ngizabona ukuthi imali efunekayo izabuya idamu liphele next year (I will see to it that all the required funding for the project is availed to have it completed by next year),” said President Mnangagwa during a visit to Mat North last month.
Treasury allocated $23 million for the dam project in its 2018 National Budget.
The President said infrastructure development was a top priority for economic growth.
“The importance of adequate and working infrastructure and utilities as key enablers to economic development cannot be over-emphasised.
“My Government is therefore making concerted efforts to increase the supply of utilities such as electricity and water,” he said.
President Mnangagwa made reference to the recently commissioned 300MW Kariba South hydro power expansion project, which he said was already impacting positively on industry and domestic power supply.
The President also said the revival of the National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) was on course through a $400 million partnership with the Diaspora Infrastructure Development Group (DIDG)-Transnet.
The initiative seeks to increase capacity utilisation and reduce the cost of moving bulk cargo internally and to the ports.
President Mnangagwa said his Government would scale-up adoption of Information Communication Technology (ICT) systems to enhance competitiveness at all levels.