Contractors want stake in urban renewal

Contractors want stake in urban renewal
The Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing has announced its intention to demolish old flats in Mbare, Harare.

The Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing has announced its intention to demolish old flats in Mbare, Harare.

By Kenneth Matimaire

MUTARE — The Zimbabwe Building Contractors Association (ZBCA) is mobilising a total of $1 billion to embark on massive infrastructural development projections under a build, operate and transfer (BOT) model, The Financial Gazette can report.
The development comes at a time the ZBCA has clinched construction deals under the urban renewal project being spearheaded by the Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing, which announced its intention to demolish old houses and flats in Sakubva in Mutare, Makokoba in Bulawayo and Mbare in Harare to pave way for high rise modern apartments in the high density suburbs.
Government has already disbursed $2 million of a $30 million budget allocated for Sakubva’s urban renewal, while more funds would be raised for the other cities.
The ZBCA said they had already engaged respective local authorities to work with.
The association said it was also in the process of mobilising $1 billion to kick-start several infrastructural projects under BOT.
A partnership has also been reached between ZBCA and businessman, Nigel Chanakira, who is assisting to mobilise the funds.
“The national urban renewal programme is being spearheaded by the Ministry of Local Government, which is the responsible Ministry. We have taken a key interest in the programme,” said ZBCA president, Ransom Nherera, during a breakfast stakeholders meeting for Manicaland.
“We have actually engaged them and during the talks they have actually given us areas to work with, city councils to work with. So right now we are also mobilising funds to the tune of $1 billion. We have partnered with businessman Nigel Chanakira to assist us with funds mobilisation,” Nherera said.
The ZBCA chief executive officer, Crispen Tsvarai, said they would financially empower and position the association to take up any construction projects.
He said they would embark on BOT projects because BOT had proved to be more efficient.
“It is our own initiative to create work for ourselves. We raise the money ($1 billion), we choose the projects where we can do a built, operate and transfer. We are striving to be part of the (infrastructural development) solutions,” he said.
The ZBCA also wants a slice of the Beitbridge-Harare-Chirundu highway construction.
Government has since allocated 40 percent of the project to indigenous contractors.
However, Nherera said politicians were abusing their power by clandestinely seeking to get tenders under the 40 percent allocated to local contractors.
This, he said, had resulted in some dubious contractors backed by politicians emerging to get tenders ahead of reputable firms.
“We have the mafikizolos that come in…backed by people who know about the work and, unfortunately, it always turns out to be the politicians coming into the space,” Nherera said.
The ZBCA is a non-profit making organisation formed in 1985 with a mandate to represent emergent building contractors in the categories of building constriction and civil engineering, electrical engineering, mechanical engineering and structural steel engineering.
The association seeks to ensure that its members uphold the highest standards of workmanship in the construction business.
It has over 400 members located in its five administrative regions of Harare, Bulawayo, Midlands, Manicaland and Masvingo.
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