Building contractors welcome university infrastructure bonds

Contractors inspect a site plan at the Lupane University campus in this file photo

Contractors inspect a site plan at the Lupane University campus in this file photo

Senior Business Reporter
THE Zimbabwe Building Contractors’ Association says it is ready to take up projects under the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education Infrastructure bonds.

The government has noted the need to construct physical infrastructure in higher and tertiary education, science and technology development institutions in the country to address student accommodation as well as lecture theatres among others.

In recent years, challenges due to lack of fiscal resources have continued to inhibit any provision of infrastructure facilities in the institutions of higher and tertiary education, science and technology development.

To kick start infrastructural development projects at higher and tertiary education institutions, the government is inviting lead financial advisors in the structuring and issuance of Higher and Tertiary Education Infrastructure bonds.

A bond market is a regulated financial system that allows the public and private sectors to raise money through issuance of debt instruments.

ZBCA president Obert Sibanda said businesses looked forward to being engaged by the government in the construction of the projects.

“We’re prepared to contribute as much as possible in the construction of infrastructural development projects by the government. The Higher and Tertiary Education Infrastructure Bonds create a platform for us as local builders to emerge from the woods if awarded tenders for such projects,” he said.

Last year, ZBCA expressed concern that its members were struggling to stay afloat due to limited infrastructural development activities in the country.

“The local builders are competent and have the capacity to build the required infrastructure. What we only need is money to carry out those projects.

“In the past, we’ve seen foreign contractors undertaking local projects at the expense of local players because such projects are negotiated at government-to-government level and they normally come with strings attached,” said Sibanda.

Sibanda could not be drawn into ascertaining how much funding their association requires to undertake various projects in the country saying the amount required was dependent on each and every project.

The Construction Industry Federation of Zimbabwe has said lack of huge capital inflows as well as failure to implement major national development projects adversely affected the construction sector.

The construction sector, which employed over 35,000 people at its peak, is presently operating at 30 percent capacity.

Zimbabwe is desperately looking for capital to fund its local infrastructural projects and revamp ailing manufacturing companies hence the bond market is expected to diversify investment portfolios and minimise risk, particularly from the volatile stock market.

According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), bond financing is growing compared to other forms of financing in emerging economies.

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