Government has committed itself to the mobilisation and availing of US$10 million towards the construction of Gwayi-Tshangani Dam. The injection of the money would be done this year.
Finance and Economic Planning Minister Patrick Chinamasa made the commitment following a high powered ministerial visit to the Gwayi-Tshangani Dam construction project last week.
The high powered ministerial delegation comprised Senior Minister of State in the President’s Office, Ambassador Simon Khaya Moyo, Minister of Environment, Water and Climate Hon Saviour Kasukuwere, Minister of Information, Media and Broadcasting Services, Prof Jonathan Moyo, Minister Chinamasa, Minister of State for Matabeleland North Province, Ambassador Cain Mathema and Deputy Minister of Environment, Water and Climate, Eng Simon Musanhu.
Secretary for Environment, Water and Climate Mr Prince Mupazviriho, ZINWA Board chairman Mr Michael Ndoro and ZINWA Chief Executive Officer, Eng Albert Muyambo were also part of the delegation.
The dam, which is part of the broader Matabeleland Zambezi Water Project, will, upon completion, become the country’s third largest dam after Tokwe-Mukorsi and Mutirikwi.
I’m committing myself to mobilising $10 million so that the construction of the dam continues,” Minister Chinamasa told a news conference after the tour.
“The $10 million is expected to take us up to December. We’ve economic challenges of course but I’m confident that the situation will improve and we’ll manage to meet the 2016 target.”
Minister Chinamasa however bemoaned the huge costs that Government was made to bear as a result of delays in finishing projects, citing the Tokwe-Mukorsi scenario where construction disruptions have seen the dam’s cost ballooning from U$60 million to more than $200 million dollars.
Speaking during the same occasion, Minister Kasukuwere expressed confidence that the dam would be complete by July 2016.
“We’re going to be doers and we’ll not be associated with failures of the past as far as the construction of this dam is concerned. In July 2016, the dam will definitely be 80 percent complete and we’ll be embarking on the next phase, which is the construction of a pipeline from Gwayi-Shangani Dam to a reservoir in Bulawayo’s Cowdray Park suburb while the third and final phase would be the construction of a 245KM pipeline from the Zambezi River to the Gwayi-Shangani Dam,” added Minister Kasukuwere.
He however said there was a huge need for the country’s water infrastructure to be utilised since a lot of money has been invested in the development of the water bodies.
“We have invested more than $2 billion in water bodies but most of them are lying idle. All the country’s dams are using only 25 percent of their potential and we need to see some change.
“There’s need for us to start expanding and make sure that we bring back the money spent on dams through irrigation schemes,” he said.