IDBZ raises US$3,8m for Bulawayo hostels project
Nqobile Bhebhe, Senior Business Reporter
THE Infrastructure Development Bank of Zimbabwe (IDBZ) has raised US$3,8 million for the ongoing construction of the Bulawayo Students Accommodation Complex Project (BSAC) near the National University of Science and Technology (Nust).
The construction of the multi-purpose three blocks of flats complex dubbed “Bulawayo Students City” is nearing completion and would have 516 rooms that are expected to accommodate 1 023 students.
Upon completion, the complex is expected to go a long way in easing accommodation challenges for tertiary students in the city and is projected to be opened by the first quarter of next year. The facility is self-contained as it would have fast food outlets, shops, salons, and sporting facilities. Officials say construction costs are projected to be under US$17 million.
In a financial statement for the half-year ending June 2022, IDBZ chief executive officer, Mr Thomas Sakala, said funds for the students complex are part of US$7,5 million raised in the first half of the year towards project implementation.
The balance of US$3,75 million went towards the Waneka Phase III Housing Project. The Government has embarked on several major infrastructural development projects countrywide, which include housing, roads, dams, schools, health centres and irrigation schemes and are within the National Development Strategy NDS1 (2021-2025) economic blueprint.
The Government launched NDS1 to lay the foundation towards the country becoming an upper middle-income economy by 2030.
“During the period under review, the bank managed to raise an equivalent of US$7,55 million towards project implementation. The funds were for the ongoing Bulawayo Students Accommodation Complex Project (BSAC) (US$3,8 million), and Waneka Phase III Housing Project (US$3,75 million),” said Mr Sakala.
“By the end of the half-year, the bank had commenced work on raising project implementation finance for the Rooiport Housing Project — Chivhu (US$5,8 million), and Lupane Students Accommodation Complex project (LUSAC), (US$17,9 million),” he said.
Initially, the Bulawayo City Council had rejected the proposal to build the hostels saying the land had already been earmarked for town houses.
Residents from neighbouring Selbourne Park had raised objections to the students’ accommodation complex to be built off campus arguing that the development would downgrade the status of the up-market residential area.
A joint venture project comprising the Infrastructure Development Bank of Zimbabwe, Old Mutual, Zimnat, and Mining Industry Pension Funds, is expected to be replicated in cities where there are universities, with Lupane expected to be the second beneficiary of such a facility.
On Monday, Finance and Economic Development minister, Professor Mthuli Ncube and IDBZ officials toured the Bulawayo Students complex.
The past two decades have recorded a surge in the number of enrolments at universities and the current number is estimated to be more than 70 000 with only 11 000 having accommodation provided by the institutions.
The Government has called for increased investment in the learning space, accommodation facilities, recreational and other supporting facilities.
Mr Sakala said the bank is working towards building a robust pipeline of projects, by continually adding new projects.
“Pursuant to that, projects with an estimated value of US$26,3 million were committed to the bank’s project pipeline during the first-half of 2022,” he added.
The projects include Selbourne Hostels (US$0,25 million), Tjibundule Cluster Homes and Solar (US$7,2 million), Killarney Cluster Homes (US$4 million) and Plumtree Plaza (US$4,85 million).
In the first-half of the year, Mr Sakala said five projects worth US$38,0 million were developed to bankability and fundraising activities are ongoing.
Waneka Phase III Housing Development (US$2,5 million), Spitzkop Housing (US$1,3 million), Rooiport Estate Housing (US$8,9 million) and Lupane Student Accommodation Complex (US$19,7 million) constitute the approved projects.
Meanwhile, during the reporting period, IDBZ received $450 million from shareholders pursuant to the $1,75 billion Rights Issue undertaken in October 2021.
An additional capital injection of $980 million was received in the third quarter of 2022.
“This is testimony to the bank’s strong shareholder support. The Bank continues to engage its shareholders for additional capital in line with its Capitalisation Roadmap,” he said.
“A key initiative in strengthening the Bank’s balance sheet is the proposal for the cession of valuable land assets to the bank by the Government of Zimbabwe. The bank will then leverage the value and commercial opportunities presented by the land assets to attract investors who will partner it in developing and implementing commercially viable projects,” said the CEO.
The bank was established through the IDBZ Act (Chapter 24:14) to champion sustainable infrastructure development in Zimbabwe through mobilisation of resources, capacity building, knowledge generation and sharing in support of national efforts for inclusive socio-economic development.