Thupeyo Muleya Beitbridge Bureau
The Ministry of Local Government and Public Works has appealed to Treasury to increase funding for all infrastructure development projects which fall under the Public Sector Investment Programme (PSIP), amid indications that two thirds of the projects under the Beitbridge Redevelopment Programme (BRP) are nearing completion.
Some of the projects under the BRP are road construction, upgrading water supply and sewer infrastructure, housing development, the construction of a new hospital, primary and secondary school, civic centre, Government composite office block, modern truck inn, shopping complex, a five star hotel, an aerodrome and the upgrading of the current border post to meet world-class standards.
In an interview during a tour of civil works being carried out under the BRP, Secretary for Local Government and Public Works Mr Zvinechimwe Churu said most major projects under the PSIP countrywide had stalled due to inadequate funding.
He said those that were underway were progressing at a snail’s pace, but the situation is expected to improve within the next 24 months.
“I am on a mission to discus with our staff on the thrust of Government in terms of service delivery,” said Mr Churu.
“This Beitbridge project has been on hold for a very long time. As you are aware, most projects, especially in the construction sector, stalled between 2005 and 2006 because of funding challenges.
“I am happy that we are making progress in terms of implementing the Beitbridge Redevelopment Project.
“Generally, the challenges in most projects is financial. During my days in the Ministry of Finance’s budget office, we made a leap of faith in 2017 to resuscitate the PSIP, and this has seen the resumption of most construction projects.
“You will note that it is Government’s thrust to accelerate infrastructure development projects as we drift towards achieving Vision 2030. Therefore, we continue to engage Treasury to increase PSIP funding so that we may achieve our set target. We are very confident that in the next 24 months, infrastructure development projects among them, housing, roads and dams will be fully funded under the PSIP initiative”.
He said a legal framework to roll out devolution was being developed through the Attorney-General’s Office.
He said local authorities were one of the major actors in the implementation of the concept (devolution) and hence close to $3 billion had been allocated to them in the 2020 Budget.
“Though, we are in an inflationary environment that money is a lot.
“It will enable most local authorities to implement capital projects in line with Government’s thrust to improve service delivery and people’s way of life,” said Mr Churu.
He said the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development had also approved a structure to have 10 provincial statisticians working with provincial councils to boost provincial economies and feed into the national economic development thrust.
He said the move was one of the major enablers to translate the talk about devolution into real action on the ground.