Pamela Shumba, Senior Reporter
THE Government will this year prioritise the completion of the Gwayi-Shangani Dam in Matabeleland North, Finance and Economic Development Minister Patrick Chinamasa has said.
Minister Chinamasa said some of the resources that were earmarked for the Gwayi-Shangani Dam were diverted to complete the Tokwe-Mukorsi Dam in Masvingo due to the threats of floods and since the project was concluded, focus had shifted to the Matabeleland North dam.
“We had already pumped $35 million into Gwayi-Shangani, and a tender was awarded and some work was done. However, when there was a threat on the Tokwe-Mukorsi Dam, we diverted those resources to finish the Tokwe-Mukorsi.
“We are now going to be more focused on Gwayi Shangani so that we complete the project. I have been to the site and some work was done,” said Minister Chinamasa while responding to questions in Parliament.
Close to $90 million is reportedly required to complete the Gwayi Shangani Dam project, which is part of the solution to Bulawayo’s perennial water problems.
The dam is also expected to promote agricultural enterprises.
Vice President Phelekezela Mphoko expressed disappointment when he visited Gwayi-Shangani in September last year as there was nothing happening at the site.
He said the project was critical to the Matabeleland region and the country as a whole as it would create a greenbelt as well as feed into Bulawayo’s industrial growth.
VP Mphoko said it was time to deliver on the dam.
“We don’t want promises. We need water. If you are capable of doing this project we can talk about how you will recoup your money. We need this water as soon as possible,” he said.
A consortium of South African investors has expressed interest in completing the construction of Gwayi-Shangani Dam, which has remained in limbo for years due to lack of funding.
The project is a major component of the long-awaited National Matabeleland Zambezi Water Project (NMZWP).
As an agriculture based economy, Zimbabwe stands to benefit immensely from projects like Gwayi-Shangani, which could also increase earnings from exports and supply to agro-processing industries.
Article Source: The Chronicle