Government takes multi-pronged approach to Bulawayo’s power, water challenges

22 Oct, 2023 - 00:10 0 Views
Government takes multi-pronged approach to Bulawayo’s power, water challenges Mr Paul Nyoni

The Sunday News

Judith Phiri, Business Reporter 

THE Government continues to make concerted efforts to ensure power and water challenges will be a thing of the past in the country and this will ensure Bulawayo’s industrialisation drive succeeds, a senior Government official has said. 

The Second Republic has facilitated the implementation of various initiatives and programmes aimed at accelerating industrialisation countrywide, with the drive also targeting Bulawayo as it moves towards regaining its status as the country’s industrial hub.

Bulawayo province has scored big in terms of development in the last five years after completing 163 signature projects out of 230 as of December 2022 with the Second Republic committing to further accelerate the modernisation of the city.

The Government has facilitated enhanced industrialisation support in the city, entrepreneurship, research and development, key infrastructure development as well as attending to pressing service delivery issues, among others thereby building momentum towards an upper middle-income economy vision by 2030.

In an interview on the sidelines of the Bulawayo Provincial Economic Development Plan (PEDP) 2023 review on Thursday, Permanent Secretary for Provincial and Devolution for Bulawayo Mr Paul Nyoni said the industrialisation of the city had two initial challenges water and energy, while the Government has made much progress to resolve them. 

“The first part of the Second Republic focused on that, solving the issues of water and energy. Just now I am coming from the Criterion Water Works where we were just doing a tour to show the African Development Bank (AfDB) what we have done with the money that they lent to the City Council through the Ministry of Finance, Economic Development and Investment Promotion.

African Development Bank

“Wonderful work has been done there, but we still have issues to do with the water that is in the dams as you know our catchment areas have not been doing very well which is why we have Lake Gwayi-Shangani. Without solving those two key problems we then also not solve the problem that then participated or increased the amount of disinvestment that happened in Bulawayo,” he said. 

“There were companies that left purely for water purposes and there are others that had challenges associated with sanctions so as Government we are very much focused on solving the water and energy issues.”

He said some key developments were the commissioning of Hwange Thermal Power Station Units 7 and 8 Expansion Project and the current works that were being done to upgrade Units 1 to 6 as the Government continues to improve the power supply situation in the country.

Mr Nyoni said changes were being observed because of the Government’s commitment, with more investor confidence to invest and expand projects in the city. 

“We have witnessed that all four big bakeries have done new plants in the last 18 months, that is they are acknowledging that these problems (energy and water) are being solved. You cannot do agro-processing without water, but now they can see a light at the end of a tunnel. Other agro processors have expanded their work, some to the extent of three or four times of the work that they used to do, more will come but we need to solve this problem first and foremost, he added. 

He said most companies were to make their final decision on expansion once the two key problems have been resolved.

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