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US$30 million for Lupane State University students accommodation

by Staff Reporter
11 Sep 2022 at 11:05hrs | Views
THE Infrastructure Development Bank of Zimbabwe (IDBZ) has released US$30m for the construction of Lupane State University student accommodation and work has already begun in earnest on the seven-hectare piece of land as the government forges ahead with infrastructure development at all State universities, a cabinet minister has said.

The project is meant to ease accommodation woes at the country's universities where 75 percent of the 69 973 students enrolled by all State universities have no access to on-campus accommodation. It is under the bank's University Students and Staff Accommodation Programme (USSAP). Finance and Economic Development Minister, Professor Mthuli Ncube said work at the US$30 million Lupane student accommodation project was now underway. He said the Lupane project would be bigger than the one at the National University of Science and Technology in Bulawayo and would therefore have the capacity to take in more students.

"There are 516 rooms in Bulawayo to accommodate 1 032 students. In Lupane the project will have 826 rooms which translates to 1 672 students. Then soon after the Lupane project, we will begin work in Bindura, Chinhoyi and other parts of the country where there are State universities," said Prof Ncube during a progress tour of the Bulawayo student accommodation complex near the National University of Science and Technology (Nust) last week.

The first phase of the bank's university accommodation project at Lupane State University will involve the construction of student halls of residence which will be a replication of the one at Nust and the University of Zimbabwe.

"The complex at Lupane State University will be similar to this one, but much bigger. There will be more rooms and more space for shops. Here in Bulawayo most if not all of the retail space has been taken up and as the Ministry, we are happy that the IDBZ which is a part of the Finance Ministry has done this well and has ensured that this project is a success," added Prof Ncube.

Prof Ncube said he was happy with the progress of the Bulawayo complex and applauded the bank's partners for their investment in the project while also confirming that construction is expected to be complete by the end of the year with students expected to begin taking up the accommodation opportunities next year in January.

"This is being undertaken through a joint venture between the IDBZ and three institutional investors, namely Old Mutual, Zimnat and Motor Industry Pension Fund at a cost of US$14,8 million. Because of these partners, the bank has been able to move the project along at a very satisfactory speed. As a Ministry we are also very happy with the quality of work being undertaken here," Prof Ncube told journalists.

Speaking at the same event, IDBZ chief executive officer, Mr Zondo Sakala confirmed that work was already in progress in Lupane.

"We have already begun work in Lupane on seven hectares of land that we bought in Lupane. We mobilised funds for the Lupane project and building has begun on our own piece of land. We believe we can deliver the Lupane one much faster because now we have a lot of experience from the Bulawayo project. Designs for the Lupane project have already been approved and the bank has completed the Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA)," said Mr Sakala.

The rapid growth in enrolment by universities has resulted in services and accommodation demands that outstrip infrastructure and service capacity. The first phase of the bank's university accommodation project involves the construction of student halls of residence at Lupane State University, National University of Science and Technology and University of Zimbabwe.

The main objective of the project is to provide student accommodation at four of Zimbabwe's eleven State universities contributing to the social well-being of staff and students. The development is a critical intervention of the Second Republic that has been lauded for its efforts towards alleviating the plight of students and staff by providing secure and affordable accommodation facilities which are conducive for effective teaching and learning.

Source - Sunday News