Bongani Ndlovu, Chronicle Reporter
GOVERNMENT has been fighting extortionist pricing by some service providers, hence the delay in payments for contractors working on Lake Gwayi-Shangani.
This was said by Minister of State for Presidential Affairs and Monitoring Implementation of Government Programmes, Dr Joram Gumbo after last Friday’s visit to the Gwayi-Shangani-Bulawayo Water Pipeline project in Cowdray Park.
He was accompanied by Secretary for Provincial Affairs and Devolution for Bulawayo Metropolitan Province Mr Paul Nyoni and Chief Director in the Ministry of Presidential Affairs and Monitoring Implementation of Government Programmes Mr Blessed Munatsi.
The Gwayi-Shangani-Bulawayo Water Pipeline Project is being implemented by the Zimbabwe National Water Authority (Zinwa) in partnership with the Environmental Management Agency (EMA) and the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Resettlement.
The New Dispensation led by President Mnangagwa is spearheading the construction of the 650 million cubic metres dam that was first mooted in 1912 but had failed to take off under previous successive administrations.
Financed through domestic resources, construction works are being done simultaneously with the laying of a 245KM pipeline linking Lake Gwayi-Shangani and Bulawayo.
Both projects are expected to create wider economic opportunities and spur development in the entire region.
Government has said it is committed to ensure timely project completion to guarantee reliable water supply to Bulawayo for the next 80 years while weaning off some of its supply dams in Matabeleland South to cater for developmental projects in the largely rural province.
In a speech, Dr Gumbo said he had taken note of the challenges that are impeding the smooth implementation of the project.
“In particular, my attention has been brought to the fact that the contractors were last paid at the beginning of the year and that the advance payments for the contractors and pipe procurement are not being disbursed on time,” said Dr Gumbo.
He said there were contractors who inflated prices and Government is doing due diligence.
“Allow me to make the point that the Government has been fighting the scourge of extortionate pricing by service providers including contractors, which led to distortions in the economy. As a result, slight delays have been experienced in payments to service providers because the Government had to carry out a due diligence process,” said Dr Gumbo.
He applauded all the stakeholders for the progress he witnessed on the pipeline.
“The expectation of the Government is that projects should not be implemented to eternity, but within stipulated timeframes. The Rapid Results Approach will therefore continue to be used as a tool to ensure projects are implemented, timeously.
He said community participation through employment opportunities in various aspects of its implementation was important.
“In my view, community participation promotes a strong sense of ownership of the project.
The rapid development that we seek to achieve through the 100 Day Cycle programme can only be achieved if communities are allowed to actively participate in the projects as opposed to benign passive beneficiaries,” said Dr Gumbo.
The provision of water is in line with the Constitution of Zimbabwe in Section 77 that states “every person has the right to safe, clean and potable water and the State must take reasonable measures, within the limits of the resources available to it, to achieve the progressive realisation of this right.”
It is in line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals number 6 which enjoins states to aspire to ensure the availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all.
One of the goals of the National Development Strategy 1 is to increase access to potable water from 77,3 percent to at least 90 percent by 2025.