THE Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Lands, Agriculture, Water Development, Rural Resources and Resettlement on Major Dam Projects, has criticised the government for failing to complete
the construction of dams countrywide.
In a report tabled in parliament last week, the committee slammed what it termed “sluggish progress” caused by inadequate funding by government.
The committee urged the government to prioritise all uncompleted dam projects.
“Lack of prioritisation has resulted in protracted progress, thereby incurring more costs than the original value of the contracts of these projects,” the committee said.
The government is yet to complete the construction of nine major dams, chief among them the Dande dam, which began in 2000 at an initial cost of $284 million.
An agreement was reached with the African Development Bank (ADB) for the bank to finance 85% of the dam’s construction in foreign currency. According to the committee, the dam was supposed to have been completed by July 2003, but progress was thwarted by government’s failure to service the ADB debt.
“Progress was severely affected by the pull-out by ADB in May 2000 ostensibly due to non-payment of arrears on loans by the government,” the committee said.
The Agricultural and Rural Development Authority told the committee that at least $46 billion was required to finish the outstanding works on the dam.
Committee chairperson, Daniel Mackenzie Ncube, told the Zimbabwe Independent that the committee was putting pressure on government to prioritise dam construction.
“The problem is the national cake,” Ncube said. “While it is not big enough to cover all projects, there is need by government to prioritise dam projects.”