THE construction of Lupane State University, in Matabeleland North, is lagging behind schedule owing to inadequate funding and a shortage of construction material.
Officials at the institution told the Zimbabwe Independent this week that the budgetary allocation made to the institution had been exhausted.
Treasury allocated $8 trillion in the 2007-2008 budget for the construction of the university infrastructure, an amount that has since been eroded by the country’s galloping inflation.
According to official statistics, inflation is now above 2 200 000%.
Howard Ndhlovu, the acting Director of Public Works at the university, said the construction project was far behind schedule owing to the slow trickling of resources from central government.
“We have managed to complete only 60% of the slab for the Faculty of Agriculture building, yet we have six more buildings to construct,” Ndhlovu said. “We still have to work on the construction of students’ accommodation, staff housing, as well as the administration block for the institution.”
He said apart from a funding crisis, the construction of the campus was also affected by a critical shortage of building materials, especially cement because their supplier, Sino Cement Zimbabwe, equipment broke down recently.
“Our supplier has failed to supply us with cement in the last two to three months due to a breakdown in the equipment they use to manufacture cement,” Ndhlovu said. “All they have said is that they will be able to fix their equipment and machinery in the next few days and they will be able to start supplying us with cement next week.”
Ndhlovu added that they were expecting Sino Zimbabwe to deliver their consignment of 1 000 tonnes of cement in the near future.
“It is our hope that the Minister of Finance will announce a supplementary budget maybe in August or September where we will get a budgetary allocation that will enable us to increase the pace of construction,” he said.
By Nkululeko Sibanda