Treasury has allocated $77 billion in the 2023 national Budget for development of irrigation infrastructure and dam projects that are at different stages of construction, as the Second Republic led by President Mnangagwa continues to focus on infrastructure development to spur economic growth.
At least $55,3 billion will cover irrigation infrastructure and fisheries while $22 billion is earmarked for 12 dam projects that are currently underway across the country.
Infrastructural projects such as dam construction are one of the factors expected to ensure that the country attain an upper middle class income economy by 2030 anchored by the National Development Strategy 1.
According to figures from the Budget statement presented in Parliament by Finance and Economic Development Minister, Professor Mthuli Ncube a fortnight ago, the largest beneficiary is Gwayi Shangani Dam in Matabeleland North province with $6,2 billion allocation, followed by Semwa Dam in Mashonaland Central province, that got $2,8 billion, Bulawayo pipeline got $2,7 billion with Kunzvi Dam in Mashonaland East province getting $2,1 billion and Vungu Dam in Midlands province earmarked to get $1,5 billion.
Other dams include Tuli Manyange in Matabeleland South, that got $1,7 billion, Ziminya Dam in Matabeleland North province ($1,1 billion), Defe Dam ($1 billion) Muchekeranwa ($600 million) Mashonaland East province, Dande Dam ($600 million) Guruve in Mashonaland Central province, Mbada Dam ($600 million) and Bindura Dam ($400 million) in Mashonaland Central province.
Zimbabwe National Water Authority (ZINWA) corporate communications and marketing manager, Mrs Marjorie Munyonga commended Treasury for the allocation saying it will help in current ongoing projects.
“The Zimbabwe National Water Authority (Zinwa) has taken note of the budgetary allocations Treasury has directed towards dam construction projects.
“The allocation will certainly add impetus to the ongoing dam construction projects which are at various stages of completion,” said Mrs Munyonga.
Commenting on the Budget of the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Water, Fisheries and Rural Development, portfolio committee chairperson of Lands and Agriculture Cde Justice Mayor Wadyajena said prioritisation of capital projects were critical for economic growth.
“The quality of the Budget is also reflected by the extent to which the budget is development oriented.
“A Budget which is biased towards capital than recurrent expenditure is generally considered developmental. Thus, the committee commends Government for prioritisation of developmental spending as this is the bulk of the resource envelope,” said Cde Wadyajena while presenting the committee’s report on the Ministry’s Budget vote in Parliament yesterday.
According to Prof Ncube, the money for Gwayi Shangani will cover construction of 46m of the dam to reach full height of 72m, construction of outlet works, and apron concrete placing while the budget vote for Bulawayo pipeline will cover construction of two pump houses, and laying of 104km of pipeline.
The budget vote for Muchekeranwa will cover the establishment of engineer’s camp and commencement of pipeline construction.
President Mnangagwa commissioned Muchekeranwa Dam in 2021 where he launched the Presidential Fisheries Scheme and the Muchekeranwa irrigation project which are spin offs from the massive dam.
He also officiated at the ground breaking of the Muchekeranwa-Wenimbe pipeline that will see the town of Marondera getting water from the new dam, with the surplus going to the capital city, Harare.
Kunzvi Dam, being constructed by Makomo Engineering will expand Harare’s water supply and end perennial water shortages in the eastern and northern suburbs as well provide portable water for local community and irrigation.
With Semwa Dam, the money will cover river diversion works, construction of the cofferdam, main dam excavations, and main dam concrete placing while Kunzvi Dam the funds will there will be finalisation of site establishment, cut off trench excavation, main dam excavations, and main dam construction.
The construction of Semwa Dam in Rushinga at the northern end of Mashonaland Central, now 41,6 percent complete is expected to revolutionise agriculture in the dry and low altitude area of the province by irrigating 12 000 hectares.
The dam will also have a small hydro-power station for local use and provide potable water for Rushinga growth point, now developing and expanding into a proper town on the back of the fast rising production of its local farming community.
With Vungu Dam in Midlands province, the budget vote will be for completion of site establishment, excavation of core trench, outlet works excavations, and construction of main dam.
In his Budget statement, Prof Ncube said he has also set aside some money for irrigation infrastructure.
“To ensure the utilisation of idle water bodies, such as Tugwi Mukosi, Marovanyati, and Muchekeranwa dams, an amount of $55,3 billion has been set aside in the 2023 Budget for the development of irrigation infrastructure, fisheries and water conveyancing systems, among other interventions,” said Prof Ncube.
“Provision of water for under-serviced communities, rural services centres, growth points and small towns under the Presidential Rural Development Programme has gained momentum following the capacitation of Zimbabwe National Water Authority and District Development Fund with drilling rigs,” said Prof Ncube.