BY HARRIET CHIKANDIWA
UNDERFUNDING has stalled completion of the civil registry building in Harare, which has defects that were causing leakages.
This was disclosed by Home Affairs ministry secretary Aaron Nhepera yesterday when he appeared before the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Defence and Home Affairs chaired by Umzingwane MP Levi Mayihlome (Zanu PF).
The new passport building was constructed in 2017 to ease congestion at the old premises.
“Right now, we are there at the building, but things are not well and there are many spaces that can’t be used because they have not been completed,” Nhepera said.
“The building is already succumbing in some areas. This year, for instance, we experienced a situation where there were water leakages into the building. This destroyed a number of documents. Our wish is that the building is completed early so that we move all the units that need to be working from there.
“All we desire to see is a building that is complete and allows us to work in a way that satisfies our citizens. Issues were raised about the building and special arrangements had to be made to find funds for its completion. No money came from the Local Government ministry and when it came in December it was taken back to Treasury and we started all over again,” he said.
Nhepera said several construction projects under his ministry had stalled due to lack of funds.
Local Government ministry director of public works, Mike Dzimati said building projects required a lot of time and resources to complete.
“Between 2004 and 2008, we had problems of material price escalations when inflation started creeping into the country. We started experiencing shortages of materials and brain drain where our able-bodied men started going out of the country for greener pastures. Projects experienced delays in completion due to under-funding,” Dzimati said.
He said most contractors overpriced their materials due to fear of erosion of the money because of inflation.
“In 2017, the Finance ministry officially handed over the building to the Home Affairs ministry when it was at 95% completion. Little was achieved due to underfunding and unwillingness by contractors to fund the project.”
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