IDBZ commissions $12m Byo students’ residential project
Enacy Mapakame recently in Bulawayo
The Government is working on recapitalising the Infrastructure Development Bank of Zimbabwe (IDBZ) to enable it to fulfil its mandate of funding for infrastructure projects.
Speaking during the commissioning of the $12 million student accommodation project in Bulawayo on Thursday, Finance and Economic Development Minister Patrick Chinamasa, said IDBZ required more support from Government, which would allow it to meet its goals.
“The bank’s strategic refocusing and developments on the ground require additional support from the Government so that it can continue to deliver on its mandate.
“Government will therefore further recapitalise the bank and this will be done by end of this year. But we are yet to decide on the quantum of recapitalisation,” he said.
IDBZ moved out of commercial banking to become a dedicated infrastructure development institution, a move Minister Chinamasa said was bearing fruit.
In line with this, the bank has lined up several infrastructure projects for student and staff accommodation at state universities across the country.
Implementation of the university accommodation project has already started with commissioning of the Bulawayo student accommodation on Thursday.
On completion, the project will accommodate 1 480 students from the National University of Science and Technology.
Minister Chinamasa said the Government was cognisant of the accommodation woes at state universities, which compromised their learning.
However, budgetary constraints were slowing down Government’s efforts in funding infrastructure development at universities, a situation that called for partnerships with private sector.
He said the IDBZ’s initiative was a milestone in national goals for ensuring student and tertiary institutions have adequate accommodation.
The minister said there was scope for investing in university infrastructure given the ballooning student population across the country’s tertiary institutions.
Only 15 percent of students at state universities have accommodation at the campus halls of residents while the rest rely on lodgings in areas surrounding the universities.
“The past two decades have seen huge changes in higher education, the number of students has increased to over 70 000 and only just above 11 000 have accommodation. This demands increased investments in learning space, accommodation facilities, recreational and other supporting facilities.
“Our state universities and other tertiary institutions require investment in physical infrastructure that includes staff and student accommodation, laboratories, workshops, sporting facilities and other student service centres,” said Minister Chinamasa.
The Bulawayo students’ accommodation project will be delivered through a special purpose vehicle, which was registered early this year and is wholly owned by the IDBZ.
Funding is being raised through a private placement of perpetual non-cumulative, convertible participating preference shares with a dividend of 5 percent.
IDBZ chief executive Mr Zondo Sakala, said similar developments will be implemented at other state universities across the country.
He said the bank was also looking at catering for foreign students currently studying in the country.
“Our intervention is complementary to other Government planned student accommodation projects, which we understand will largely be within confines of various campuses.
“The IDBZ’s participation is in line with our 2016-2020 medium term strategy crafted with an eye to arrest strategy drift by refocusing our operations on the critically important mandate to act as a vehicle for the promotion of economic development and growth through development of infrastructure,” said Mr Sakala.