EDITORIAL COMMENT: Projects implementation confirms Govt’s resolve to turn around economy

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President Mnangagwa

President Mnangagwa

Zimbabwe on Wednesday recorded yet another milestone when President Emmerson Mnangagwa commissioned a $241 project to upgrade and modernise Beitbridge Border Post. The Border Post is one of the busiest inland ports in Sub-Sahara Africa and opens up Zimbabwe to the rest of the world.

Cde Mnangagwa said the upgrading and modernisation of the border along with similar projects throughout the country represent the Government’s resolve to change and modernise infrastructure towards the achievement of a middle income economy by 2030. “This event indeed signals a new beginning, a new Zimbabwe full of hope and immense possibilities. A Zimbabwe open to the region and open to the world, ready to play its part in facilitating regional and continental integration and industrialisation,” said Cde Mnangagwa.

The President said Government was prioritising the refurbishment of Beitbridge Border Post whose face-lift he said was long overdue. He said once the upgrading and modernisation is complete, there will be improved service delivery at the border post which handles the bulk of the country’s imports and exports thereby contributing significantly to the Government’s revenue.

The project will be implemented under the Build Operate and Transfer (BOT) model and Cde Mnangagwa said an inter-ministerial committee will supervise the implementation of the project.

On completion of the modernisation project, the border post is expected to handle about three times the passenger and traffic flow it is handling now.

The President said the modernisation of the Beitbridge Border Post will be complemented by the construction of the Beitbridge-Chirundu and the Beitbridge-Victoria Falls highways.

President Mnangagwa two weeks ago officiated at the laying of the foundation stone for the $1,5 billion Hwange Thermal Power Station expansion project expected to create 7 000 jobs directly and indirectly at its peak. Cde Mnangagwa is expected to officiate at yet another groundbreaking ceremony for the $4,2 billion platinum investment project in Mhondoro-Ngezi very soon. The project is expected to create 15 000 jobs directly and 75 000 indirectly.

Early this year Government signed a $1 billion deal with the Sinosteel Corp that will see the Chinese firm building a 400 megawatt coal bed methane power plant in Matabeleland North province and setting up ferrochrome smelters at its local unit at Zimasco. The investment, with potential to create 250 000 jobs, will be implemented in phases.

The first phase involves the drilling of two coal bed methane (CBM) wells at Shangani grants to fire 12MW pilot power station.  The company will also build two ferrochrome smelters in Zvishavane and another one in Kwekwe where it already operates the country’s largest ferrochrome plant. Sinosteel Corp is one of the companies that have moved in quickly to exploit Zimbabwe’s investment opportunities as opposed to waiting for the elections.

These big projects being implemented are a confirmation of the Government’s resolve to turnaround the economy. It is therefore not in dispute that Zimbabwe will never be the same again following the Government’s decision to open its doors to both foreign and local investors.