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Lethargy hampers govt PPPs



CHIEF Secretary  to the President and Cabinet Misheck Sibanda (pictured) says while government has approved over 20 Public  Private Partnership worth over US$4 billion since the establishment of the Zimbabwe Investment Development Agency (Zida) three years ago, a lethargic approach by  some ministries and state-owned enterprises has unnerved potential investors. 


Limited fiscal space and dried-up concessional funding from international financial institutions has resulted in huge infrastructure gap in Zimbabwe.

The country’s investment agency however believes that Public Private Partnership can play a vital role in bankrolling capital intensive infrastructure projects. According to the African Development Bank, Zimbabwe requires nearly US$10 billion to mend its rundown infrastructure neglected by years of poor government policies and economic tailspins.

“Many times after his Excellency’s successful engagements with keen investors, both locally and internationally, limited success is realised due to lack of timeous response by various players in our ministries, departments and agencies which is attributable to limited capacity to clearly articulate the necessary processes,” Sibanda said.

“As you are no doubt aware, the world over, resources are limited, hence the growing need to be innovative in coming up with viable financing models for development. In line with the National Development Strategy 1 (NDS1), Public Private Partnerships are key.”

Official documents show that PPPs were introduced in the country in the late 1990s when the economy slowed down after adopting neo-liberal policies such as the Economic Structural Adjustment Programme. During this period, three projects namely: Beitbridge Bulawayo Railway between 1996-98; the Limpompo Bridge; and the Newlands By-Pass were implemented.

“However, uptake of the concept was inadequate for the scope of developments that were envisaged. That was attributable to the macroeconomic environment that was characterised by volatility and hyoer-inflation which reduced private sector capacity to embark on long-term projects requiring huge financial infusions; and the absence of a clear legislative and regulatory framework governing PPPs,” Sibanda said.

“A total of 21 PPPs projects with an estimated value of US$4,2 billion, have been processed and approved by Cabinet since the establishment of Zida.”

 Notable projects approved and under implementation, he added include the upgrading and mordenisation of Beitbridge Border Post, Bulawayo Electronic Parking System, ZETDC Manhize Transmission Power Line and, revamping and upgrading of Zim Parks Lodges along the Zambezi River, amongst others.

Experts say a significant number of PPP in Zimbabwe have failed to take off due failure to reach financial closure, limited resources to undertake bankable feasibility studies, conflicts due to misrepresentation of parties and lack of role clarity of stakeholders among others.

“To mitigate the project preparation challenges, government established a project preparation and Development Fund under the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development,” Sibanda said.

“However, the fund has not performed as per government expectations due to a combination of factors attributed to the absence of a lead coordinating agency within government ministries, departments and agencies…Capacity issues within ministries departments and agencies to successfully process projects to bankability and lack of an identified national priority list.”

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