THE Zimbabwe National Water Authority (Zinwa) says it is engaged in talks with local and Chinese investors to inject more than $500 million needed for its water infrastructure projects.
BY TATIRA ZWINOIRA
One of the projects includes the Tokwe-Mukosi Dam, which is 95% complete and needs $20 million for the remaining 5%.
Once the project is completed, it is expected to be the biggest inland dam in the country and the second largest after Kariba.
Speaking to NewsDay after the end of a media tour of some of Zinwa’s projects in Masvingo, the authority’s corporate communications and marketing manager, Marjorie Munyonga, said since last year’s investment conference, Zinwa was yet to receive monetary support.
“We have not yet received anything in terms of monetary issues, but we have received expressions of interests from a number of foreign investors, from China and some local business people. We are still at the point where we are discussing the issues surrounding the various projects that they are interested in, but certain projects like Kunzvi are at a very advanced stage with the Chinese. Government has been the main player in terms of developing the local infrastructure like the dams,” she said.
“At the moment, government is still doing something to finish off the dams that have not been completed. As Zinwa, we are also looking into public-private partnerships and various possible partners to finance the completion for some of the projects that are not complete. We have some huge projects that require maybe $1 billion, so, really, we require a lot of money for our projects.”
Funding remains a major challenge for Zinwa, with the authority having arrears of about $20 million owed to Italian company Salini-Impregilo JV, the main contractor of the Tokwe-Mukosi Dam project alone.
Zinwa resident engineer (supervision and construction) Paul Dengu said the dam would support the irrigation of sugarcane in the lowveld region and new schemes to be developed in communal and resettlement areas.
“The project is in danger of funding, further funding is needed to complete the works,” he said.
Dengu said funding challenges led to suspension of construction of the dam from January 20, 2015, to May 2016.
The dam has a height of 90 metres and once completed, will have a storage capacity of 1,8 billion cubic metres of water.
Munyonga said the main focus of the authority was to get $130 million in arrears Zinwa was owed by various stakeholders, including water users, local authorities, irrigators, domestic and industry.