Chinese ‘bleed’ zim economy — parly told

Foreign companies have snatched $553 million worth of contracts for different projects in the country, with the Chinese getting the lion’s share, Parliament was told on Tuesday.

Chairperson of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Budget, Finance and Investment Promotion Paddy Zhanda made the disclosure while presenting a report on the 2012 National Budget.

Zhanda said awarding such lucrative business to foreigners while the country was experiencing a high unemployment rate and poor performing economy was unfair.

“$553 million worth of contracts were awarded to foreign companies and most of these to Chinese companies,” said Zhanda.

“Zimbabwe has a very high unemployment rate and a liquidity crisis and we implore the Minister of Finance, Tendai Biti, to stop this bleeding,” he said.

Among projects awarded to Chinese companies is the construction of the $98 million Defence College in Marlborough .

Zhanda said some of the projects awarded to foreigners included the construction of Willowvale Flats in Harare at a cost of $7 million.

“A few examples of these projects include construction of Lupane State University to cost $10 million, National University of Science and Technology to cost $4 million, a project at the University of Zimbabwe to cost $2 million, Beitbridge Waterworks to cost $4 million, construction of the new Parliament of Zimbabwe complex in Kopje to cost $134 million, and others,” said Zhanda.

Recently, during pre-budget consultations, members of the public said government should take measures to discourage Chinese companies and other foreigners from importing cheap labour for menial jobs.

MPs recently quizzed Biti on procurement procedures and urged him to buy from local industries to curb flight of cash through unnecessary imports .

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