Treasury deploys $6,6bn on infrastructure projects

THE Government has so far disbursed $6,6 billion towards financing infrastructure development projects out of $12 billion that was allocated for this segment in the 2020 National Budget.

This is despite the disruptive exogenous factors, in the form of Covid-19, climate change impacts of drought and floods as well as a difficult operating environment. The above constraints have necessitated re-prioritisation of spending away from the development budget towards more urgent health priorities.

According to Treasury, the overall development budget outlay for this year amounted to $24,7 billion. This was to be mobilised through fiscal resources, $12,1 billion, loans, $8,8 billion, development partners, $2 billion, statutory and public entities own resources, $1,8 billion.

“Against the fiscal allocation of $12 billion towards infrastructure, a total of $6,6 billion has already been deployed towards projects as at 31st July 2020, focussing on transport, water and sanitation, public amenities, irrigation amongst others,” reads the Treasury update statement.

“This excludes the significant funds that are being disbursed under the 2020 inter-governmental fiscal transfer (devolution), which are also being earmarked to address basic social infrastructure needs at the community level.”

A robust infrastructure is a key enabler in attracting domestic and international investment, economic experts say. It is for this reason that the 2020 Zimbabwe Infrastructure Investment Programme has set out an ambitious plan for execution of targeted priority projects in order to address apparent deficiencies constraining economic growth and development in the country.

In this regard, Treasury has said that resources for projects towards the social sectors such as health, water and sanitation as well as transport have been ring fenced and protected.

“Furthermore, National Projects with ring fenced and secure funding sources, mainly through loans, such as the R G Mugabe International Airport, the New Parliament Building, Hwange 7 & 8 Expansion projects are also being executed in line with the original financing plans,” said Treasury.

The Hwange units 7 and 8 Expansion Project is already underway and will deliver two additional units of 300MW each and associated transmission infrastructure. The project is being financed by a loan of about US$1,5 billion from China.

Government’s decision to prioritise the Harare-Beitbridge Road Upgrading Project, for instance, has been sustained during the period, with $1,8 billion having been availed to the five contractors who are on the ground, undertaking works on the project.

President Mnangagwa recently visited the project site and expressed satisfaction with the level of expertise and workmanship being shown by local contractors.

Despite the difficult macro-economic environment, Treasury has said progress remains very strong.

“Contractors are on course to achieve the 200km target for the year as 35km of that target has already been completed, whilst preparatory works for the remainder are progressing well,” it said.–sundaynews.cozw

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