BY MTHANDAZO NYONI
CHINESE firm, Anhui Foreign Economic Construction Group Limited (Afecc) says it is still mobilising funds for the Harare-Beitbridge and Harare-Chirundu highways dualisation.
Government last year said it had engaged Afecc for the projects after it withdrew the tender awarded to Austrian company, Geiger International.
Afecc had come second in the tender process.
Afecc vice-president Tian ShiYue told NewsDay recently that they were yet to come up with the total cost for the project.
“At this moment, it’s a very preliminary stage because we need to look for a company to work with and also we are looking for the finance. It’s a very big
project so we are looking for big Chinese companies to work with on that project,” she said.
ShiYue said more than 1 000 jobs would be created through the project.
How long the project takes to be completed would depend on government’s commitment as well as the availability of funds, she added.
She also could not give timelines on when the project would kick-start, saying: “It all depends on whether we get the finance. We are working hard on that, but
we can’t give you exact timelines.”
“The most (challenging issue) now is finance. Finance is very difficult because it’s a very big project. We haven’t got exact figures because of the financial
reason (and) we need to find a very big company to work with to come up to the accurate figure,” ShiYue said.
The are pushing for the project to be a build, operate and transfer arrangement so that they can recover their investment.
The dualisation of the Beitbridge-Chirundu Highway was first planned in the late 1980s, but the tender was only awarded to ZimHighways, a consortium of local construction companies, in 2002.
The company, however, failed to implement the project for over a decade after hyper-inflation rendered the Zimbabwean dollar quotations worthless. The tender was cancelled, but the parties fought in court till 2013.
After three years of bickering, the government awarded a US$985 million tender to Geiger International in December 2016. The tender was revalued over time to US$2,7 billion and the road was divided into three sections, namely, the Beitbridge-Harare Road which is 570km long (eight toll plazas); Harare-Chirundu, 342km (six toll plazas) and the Harare-Ring Road, 59km (three toll plazas).
After three years with no progress, government withdrew the tender in April 2018 and awarded it to Afecc.