Golden Sibanda, Harare Bureau
The Infrastructure Development Bank of Zimbabwe (IDBZ), has obtained board approval to spend $10 million on the acquisition of land across the country for its tertiary colleges accommodation and housing projects.
Chief executive Thomas Zondo Sakala, told our Harare Bureau in an interview yesterday that the State-owned infrastructure bank was struggling to secure free state-land to develop critical infrastructure projects.
He bemoaned deficiencies in project planning, design and proper feasibility studies for challenges in attracting project funding, while noting the negative effect of the obtaining economic climate on resource mobilization.
The IDBZ CEO said while Zimbabwe had a national housing backlog of 1,25 million houses, with major urban centres like Harare and Bulawayo being most affected, accessing land for accommodation remained a challenge.
However, IDBZ contends that given the yawning infrastructure deficit, particularly residential housing and tertiary accommodation shortages, an investment of $10 million on land acquisition remained inadequate.
“We are a national institution supposed to play an important role in mobilising resources, prepare projects to bankability, reach financial closure as well as implement the projects,” Mr Sakala said.
He said as part of its mandate, IDBZ would invest in resolving accommodation challenges for staff (health professionals) and students, pointing out that out of about 70 000 tertiary students in Zimbabwe, only 11 000 had access to proper and decent accommodation.
IDBZ will develop accommodation for tertiary students and staff on and off campus. The programme is broken into phase one and two with phase one requiring $35 million and phase two the balance of $40 million.
Phase One of IDBZ’s programme is aimed at resolving accommodation challenges for (health) staff and students at tertiary institutions with about 6 500 students across the country set to benefit.
Beneficiary institutions under this phase include Bulawayo, Lupane and Bindura universities, while phase 2 entails University of Zimbabwe, Chinhoyi University of Science and Technology and Catholic University.
“The board has given us permission to use some funding . . . it has allowed us to use $10 million to acquire some land because there is not enough free state land available for us to develop most of these projects,” he said.
IDBZ, whose mandate is to take the lead in developing key infrastructure, is in the process of developing accommodation infrastructure for tertiary students and staff as well as conventional housing.
As such, as mandated by the Government, the bank intends to acquire land in major cities, towns and locations where there are accommodation problems for staff (including health professionals) and students of tertiary institutions such as universities and polytechnic colleges.
Targeted areas include Harare, Bulawayo, Masvingo, Zvishavane, Chinhoyi and Bindura. The areas fall under phase 1 of IDBZ’s tertiary staff and students accommodation programme. Each of the accommodation projects is estimated to take at least 18 months to complete. IDBZ is also undertaking several housing projects across the country, wherever it can obtain the requisite land and already has running projects and standing plans for Harare, Kariba, Hwange, Plumtree Masvingo, Bulawayo and Mutare.
The bank’s head of infrastructure Desmond Matete, said IDBZ was making an intervention in terms of accommodation for tertiary students and health professionals, but where need be, the bank also facilitated investment in and development of portable water infrastructure.
In terms of housing, Mr Matete said the bank had running residential projects in a number of towns including Kariba where it has started work on the Masaisai, Batoka and Kasese extension projects.
“In Kariba we are on three sites, Masaisai, Batoka and Kasese extension where we are putting over a 1 000 (residential) stands. Work has already started and contractors are on the ground,” Mr Matete said.
IDBZ is also implementing housing projects in Plumtree, where over a 1 000 low to medium density housing stands are being developed, Gwanda where over 2 000 stands are on course, while similar initiatives are being pursued in Zvishavane and Mutare, where land is yet to be secured.
In Hwange IDBZ will develop over 200 stands under the Mpumalanga project.
Mr Matete said that the bank had also been offered land to develop Clipsham Views phase two in Masvingo, which will yield about half the 704 housing units the bank managed in phase one of the project.