Harare-Beitbridge highway work to start

HARARE - Chinese construction firm, Geiger International (Geiger), is set to commence works on the Beitbridge-Harare-Chirundu highway in three months’ time, Transport minister Jorum Gumbo has said.

Gumbo, who signed the $984,1 million agreements with Geiger in Harare on Wednesday, said construction of the road was to be undertaken over a three-year period.

“Geiger invested almost a billion dollars on this project under the Built-operate and transfer arrangement. As government we are convinced that the cost of the project is fair based on the feasibility study that was done by Stuart Scott International through an international tender funded by the Development Bank of South Africa (DBSA) in 2013, which estimated the cost as between $900 million and $1,2 billion,” he added.

The Zanu PF legislator noted that scope of work covered by the cost includes full dualisation of the road, including widening and rehabilitation of the existing road as well as the cost of construction of 37 new two lane bridges and eight toll gates.

Gumbo said government was presently working on finalising road mapping and road designs and other preliminary works like mobilisation of materials as construction could not be undertaken immediately due to the rains.

“… and also for the developer to identify and engage local sub-contractors and suppliers of materials towards the project… at least 40 percent of the value of the project will be sub-contracted to Zimbabwean companies,” said Gumbo.

Regarding the Harare-Chirundu road, also part of the corridor, Gumbo said the engineering procurement and construction contract for the highway had been approved by government.

“We expect a Chinese delegation from CHEC to fly into the country before the end of year for the signing ceremony of that portion of the road.

“Thereafter, full negotiations will be opened with the financing partner in China and the loan agreement should be concluded by mid-year 2017,” he said.

Going forward, Gumbo said his ministry was focusing on the Beitbridge-Bulawayo-Victoria Falls corridor and the Harare-Nyamapanda road.

“This will effectively open the North-South corridor and also the trade route with Mozambique and Malawi,” he said

As a gateway for Zimbabwe’s $3 billion trade with South Africa and many other northern countries dependent on it, the key Beitbridge economic artery has been earmarked for rehabilitation since 2002, when the first contractor Zimhighways Consortium (Zimhighways) was handed the job to commence works.

Even though the local grouping was awarded the tender to dualise the road about eight years ago, the construction lobby was accused of failing to raise enough funds or capital to embark on the project, hence its contract was cancelled.

After agreeing to withdraw its two-year case in the High Court last year, Zimhighways was assured of a role by government once an appropriate funding model for the project was secured.

Comments (4)

Dear Editor, I'm disappointed with the quality and shallowness of this report. I'm just an ordinary Zimbabwean but will point out the following glaring errors in this instalment. Firstly, Geiger is not a Chinese company as stated in the very first paragraph. Earlier reports on the same matter highlighted that Geiger is an Austrian company who are partnering a Chinese company called China Harbour. Secondly, there was another signing ceremony done earlier this year wich perged the cost at about $2 Billion. What has changed and caused a 50% reduction on the cost? The minister is quoted as saying that ''Geiger invetsed almost a billion dollars on the project...'' This is in past tense. Yet further down he also says, ''Therefater full negotiations will be opened with the financing partner in China...'' Something is fishy here. Can our journalists please do thorough work, this is shoddy work to say the least.

Newshog - 2 December 2016

Very true . Your reporters rushed to pen down this report. How can a company without money start to negotiate for the award of the tender then after winning they set out to seek funds. To me that is not normal. Let companies with resources bid for the tender. Since its a built , operate transfer agreement we do not need to be involved in anything rather than just agreeying on the actual costing of the project.

ken - 5 December 2016

This is Zanu Pf politics at play as usual. This project has been in the news for decades. It comes in the news towards elections so people think there is something is happening. The lack of clarity in the article says it all. Towards elections, the project is a campaign tool like the Zambezi water project, Mbare hostels upgrading. etc. In the mean time people continue to die along the highway, does this government care? Dualisation of this road could have been done during Chidzero era with Zimcod funds but this clueless government thought that our business with the outside world was going to be along the Beira corridor when donors were saying otherwise.

Shumbaimwe - 5 December 2016

hie ,i am a 37 year old man looking for a job as a grader operator .I have 3 years working in open cast mining using volvo B720.

Maxwell Dzingai - 12 April 2017

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