HomeLocal NewsParliament ratifies China loan deals

Parliament ratifies China loan deals

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The House of Assembly on Tuesday ratified three loan agreements with the Export Import Bank of China amid protestations by several MDC-T MPs who felt Parliament had been made to “rubber-stamp” the Executive’s decisions.

The loan agreements were in relation to the $150 million Victoria Falls Airport project, the development and rehabilitation of municipal water and sewage treatment works for the City of Harare ($141,3 million) and the $89 million medical equipment and supplies project.

MDC-T MPs Felix Magalela Sibanda (Magwegwe), Ian Kay (Marondera Central), Thamsanqa Mahlangu (Nkulumane) and Misheck Shoko (Chitungwiza South) protested that the Executive was taking Parliament for granted by bringing the loan agreements for ratification when the money had already been disbursed, while other projects were already underway.

But, their protests went unheard as the House agreed on the motion and the protocols were ratified.
Principals in the inclusive government this week summoned Parliament abruptly to ratify the loan agreements with China.

The agreements were, however, signed in March 2011 in the case of the supply of medical equipment and municipal sewer treatment, while that for the upgrading of Victoria Falls Airport was entered into in April 2012.

Acting Finance minister Gorden Moyo told Parliament the loan agreement for the upgrading of Victoria Falls Airport was entered into between the Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe and China Jiangsu International Economic Technical Cooperation Corporation and was imperative since the country would next year host the United Nations World Tourism Organisation Assembly.

“The project aims at upgrading and expanding the airport terminal building, construction of a 4 000-metre runway, a control tower and power station, a VIP pavilion and rehabilitation of the current runway and China Jiangsu International Economic Technical Cooperation Corporation is already on the ground,” Moyo said.

“This is an urgent matter and that is why we come to your attention because if we do not ratify it we will lose the $150 million as the Chinese will in September evaluate all their projects worldwide and any project which is not underway will result in funds being withdrawn.”

Moyo said $30 million had already been used and equipment was already in Durban and Beira waiting transportation into the country. “The rate of interest is 2% per annum, the rate applicable to the management fee is 0,5% and the commitment fee is
0,5% and the tenure is 20 years including a grace period of five years, and this is cheap money,” Moyo said.

On the loan for the rehabilitation of water and sewer plants, Moyo said it had been entered into between the City of Harare and China National Machinery and Equipment Import and Export Corporation (CNMEIE).

“It is aiming at rehabilitating and upgrading Morton Jaffray and Prince Edward water treatment plants, replacement of aged water pumps, rehabilitation of sewage treatment plants and replacement of worn-out pipes in selected residential areas,” Moyo said.

He said the loan for procurement of medical equipment had been entered into with the Chinese supplier, CNMEIE, and was meant to establish infrastructure and facilitate procurement of critical medical equipment and drugs.

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