The Sunday News
Dumisani Nsingo, Senior Business Reporter
WORK on Hwange Local Board (HLB)’s biggest ever infrastructural development project funded by the Infrastructural Development Bank of Zimbabwe (IDBZ) to the tune of $6 million will resume soon after contractors had temporarily pulled out of site owing to a myriad of economic challenges.
HLB resident engineer Philip Nguni said the servicing of 2 000 residential stands at Empumalanga West had resumed.
The IDBZ residential stands servicing project started last year and also entails the rehabilitation of Empumalanga sewer waste treatment plant, which has been non-functioning for about a decade and a half.
“As Hwange Local Board, we are implementing a housing development project, which is targeting to servicing 2 000 residential stands. As a council this is our flagship project, which we are implementing in partnership with the IDBZ. The project will basically involve putting in place sewer and water reticulation systems as well as the road network including installation of solar powered street lights. At the present moment we have a road contractor as well as a contractor focusing on sewer and water,” said Eng Nguni.
He said negotiations between IDBZ and the contractors to review the funding in the wake of escalating costs of operations and services had reached an advanced stage.
“The main challenge we had, has been largely due to fuel shortages with our contractors facing difficulties in procuring the commodity but normalcy seems to have returned now with the new fuel prices. We are at a stage where there are contract re-negotiations so that the project can be re-evaluated and come up with a new contract price so that the contractors are able to move and start work,” Eng Nguni said.
He said the project is targeted at providing housing to low income earners home seekers.
“As the Local Board we intend to provide housing to the country’s low income earners basically focusing on such groups of people like vendors. These are the people that we wish to be part of this project so that they get to benefit by owning their own homes,” said Eng Nguni.
The project’s consultant Engineer Phillimon Muzamhindo confirmed that work would resume soon.
“Work on the project had come to a halt owing to a number of economic related challenges for instance the introduction of the two percent tax by the Government and fuel shortages. However, negotiations with the funder are now at an advanced stage and by next week we will be in full swing. The contractual period has long lapsed but there has been realignment and probably by April the project should be completed,” said Eng Muzamhindo.
In another related development HLB’s efforts to expedite its own funded project is being frustrated by the delay in the delivery of the requisite earthmoving equipment.
“The Local Board purchased a grader to the tune of $150 000 some time in September last year. This was fully paid for but the challenge that we had is that the company, which should be supplying us is in the process of trying to get its allocation of forex from the RBZ (Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe) and it’s actually in the queue to be allocated the forex.
“The grader has to come from South Africa so that’s the major reason for the delay and because of that delay some of the projects we have been looking at are now behind schedule especially the project, which is focusing on servicing Empumalanga Phase four stage two, that’s the major challenge that we have,” said Eng Nguni.