In 2020 the government has set out to embark on a number of developmental initiatives. It is being dubbed the Infrastructure Investment Programme. Government is going to run 9 infrastructural development initiatives this year. The entire project is reported to cost ZWL$24.7 billion and is being overseen by the finance ministry. Some of the initiatives to be carried out are those ones already laid in in the Transitional Stabilization Programme (TSP). The other ones are those that were discussed at the pre-budget seminar held by parliamentarians towards the end of 2019. These are all efforts aimed at stimulating economic growth for an economy that is currently swimming through the rocks.
Sector By Sector Breakdown Of The Project
The project will focus on 9 areas namely, energy, transport, housing, water and sanitation, health, education, ICTs, agriculture, and emerging ventures. The energy sector will get the lion’s share of ZWL$9 billion that will be meant for generating power plus other related initiatives. The transport domain will cost ZWL$4.4 billion and the housing sector will need ZWL$2.6 billion. Water and sanitation will get ZWL$2.5 billion and ZWL$2 billion will be for the health sector. Education will cost ZWL$1.8 billion and ICTs will receive ZWL$1.2 billion. ZWL$1500 million will go towards agriculture and emerging ventures will get ZWL$95 million.
The Question Of Funding
You probably might wonder how all this is going to be funded given that the amounts required are quite steep. Well, there are several means that are going to be used to mobilize the required funds. About ZWL$12.1 billion will be raised through fiscal sources – through taxation mainly. Loans to the tune of ZWL$8.8 billion will be sourced and secured. ZWL$2 billion is expected to come from foreign aid whilst roughly ZWL$723 million will come from statutory funding. Lastly, public entities will be expected to mobilize some of their own funding and resources – ZWL$1.1 billion is projected to come from this.
How Focus Areas Were Selected
Earlier I highlighted that 9 sectors will be prioritised under this 2020 work plan. So just to make this clear I will just lay out how the focus areas were selected. There were submissions from various stakeholders that were taken into account. There were also wide-ranging stakeholder engagements that were done with the aim of drawing insights. From those processes that is where focal areas were identified and included in the work plan. Some of the projects also taken into account were on-going ones – particularly those with contractual obligations. Projects with completed designs and ready for immediate implementation were also taken into account.
A Look At Some Of The Specific Areas
The Harare – Beitbridge – Chirundu road development is going to be a major priority. The National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) will be recapitalized. The RGM and JMK International airports will continue being upgraded. The urban mass transport system will receive focal attention this year. These will be some of the specific areas to be worked on under the transport sector.
ZWL$311 million will be disbursed to local authorities for the prioritization of water and sanitation services. ZWL$2 billion will be directed at addressing the housing lag of approximately 3 million houses. Some of the other areas to be embarked on will be the formative developments for Mt Hampden, Mbare and Makokoba flats. The regularization of Harare South will also be a priority.
An upgrade for 20 district and 7 provincial hospitals will one of the major focuses under the health sector. Another priority will be the expansion of specialist tertiary care services to provincial hospitals in Masvingo, Mutare and Gweru. It is reported that 100 fully furnished ambulances were procured in 2019 and will all be delivered this year.
In agriculture, there will be concerted efforts towards the rehabilitation of irrigation systems. There will also a focus on the promotion of renewable energy use in irrigation.
All these initiatives are earmarked for completion this year. It is believed that they will stimulate economic growth and also open up private sector investments. The development of infrastructure is always a catalyst for economic recovery and subsequent growth. As always, better is the end of a thing than its beginning – we look forward to the fruition of all these initiatives.