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Govt uses local resources to bust sanctions

by Staff reporter
03 Oct 2021 at 07:13hrs | Views
THERE is no doubt that good roads and development of infrastructure in the transport sector remains a key enabler of economic development as the country charts its way towards the vision of becoming an upper middle-income economy by 2030.

Mindful of that, the government has taken it upon itself to develop the country's roads to improve efficiency in linkages, communication and delivery of goods and services nationally and regionally with President Mnangagwa stressing that the country's turnaround efforts should not be hindered by sanctions.

The development thrust taken by the Second Republic follows many false starts by the previous political administration following the promulgation of the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act (ZIDERA) of 2001 under which sanctions were packaged.

The Act affected major road infrastructural development projects in the country and stalled progress in the country's economic sectors making delivery of goods and services difficult at a time when road transport was gaining ground over rail.

Although the sanctions came wrapped in sanitized and unjustified packages of human rights violation, lack of good governance, lack of democracy and failure to respect property rights among many others it was apparent that they were aimed at achieving regime change through impoverishing the country's communities by isolating it from the global community of States.

Zimbabwe was regarded as leprotic after it successfully distributed land to its black majority and that was the genesis of its quarantine. The country was regarded as a purveyor of a deadly contagious diseases that was unwelcome to the remnants of the colonial order. The punishment of economic sanctions was therefore meant to serve the purpose of deterring other like-minded African countries who may want to go the same route of repossessing their land.

The economic embargo led to the abrupt abandonment of many mega Western funded projects at a time when the Government was financially incapacitated to complete them. Multi-million-dollar road infrastructure development programmes were underway. And a good number of roads were left at different stages of re/construction.

The period unfortunately followed hard on the heels of the country having suffered a major phase of destruction after Cyclone Eline in 2000 ravaged the length and breadth of the country. The cyclone left the country's road infrastructure tattered. Roads were left littered with potholes while bridges were swept away leaving most major roads linking the country to the region and highways connecting cities as well as minor feeder roads urban and rural across the country completely impassable especially during the rainy season.

In the expansive Matabeleland provinces, the Bulawayo-Nkayi Road, Bulawayo-Kezi and Bulawayo-Tsholotsho roads were some of the roads that tell the sad tale of the effects of sanctions as their reconstruction was affected by the embargo.

The important roads were now death traps and no longer belonged to the modern road infrastructure era. They represented relics of the gone-by colonial period where traffic from major cities to tributary and outlying district centres was minimal as cars belonged to the elitist whites.  They were narrow single lane roads and were checkered with patches of tar and dust as well as potholes of different sizes and depth.

Matabeleland North Minister of State for Provincial Affairs and Devolution Richard Moyo told Sunday News in a telephone interview that the Bulawayo-Nkayi Road and the Bulawayo-Tsholotsho Road were affected by sanctions as the partners pulled out before completing the projects. He however said he was happy with the progress recorded in the few years that the Second Republic under President Mnangagwa had been in charge.

"In the area of road infrastructure the President has moved mountains. Zimbabwe never saw such efficient infrastructure development in a good number of years as has been made by President Mnangagwa in a very short space of time," he said.

He noted that it was under the guidance of President Mnangagwa that the Bulawayo-Tsholotsho Road and Bulawayo-Nkayi Road were taking an amazing new look with work having commenced on the two roads.

"The Nkayi Road was being constructed by a company from Italy but it pulled out. Then there was another one from Turkey that also pulled out after the US imposed sanctions on the country. A lot of other projects that were underway were affected but the government has since taken them up and work is in progress to ensure their completion.

"Only 40 km of the Nkayi Road had been done before the contractors pulled out. A number of other roads were affected too. We are happy that the Government is working on them now using local resources and we have since commissioned the first stretch of the Bulawayo-Tsholotsho Road," said Moyo.

Minister Moyo said the sanctions were not targeted, but were economic in nature and impacted both the economy and the welfare of the entire population. He said it was absurd to say sanctions were targeted arguing that those who say so were suffering from serious political amnesia.

"Sanctions cut across the entire economic spectrum, isolating the country and making doing business with the international community not only difficult but impossible."

Other projects that are ongoing in Matabeleland North province despite sanctions according to Minister Moyo are, the Gwayi-Shangani Dam construction, the Batoka Gorge and the investment in coal, gas and coke that has seen about 7000 youths getting employed.

Transport and Infrastructural Development Minister Felix Mhona said in an interview that the Bulawayo-Nkayi and Bulawayo-Tsholotsho Roads were two major projects that have seen so many false kick-offs and much stalling due to sanctions.

He said work on the ground points to a serious intention to re-establish the trafficability of most of the country's roads as the Second Republic accelerates the economic growth agenda as it strains towards vision 2030.

"Through the fiscus, funds have been availed to my ministry under the second phase of the Emergency Roads Rehabilitation Programme (ERRP2) for the road development programme, targeting to re-establish a proper road network in the country to enhance movement of people, goods and services. A lot of progress has been made in that regard.

"The Bulawayo-Tsholotsho and Bulawayo-Nkayi Roads are among the projects that benefited from the money released by Treasury and I am happy to say work is already underway. We have also through bilateral engagements managed to see the expansion of the Robert Mugabe International Airport, the Beitbridge Border Post expansion and the construction of the New Parliament Building in Mount Hampden among other projects" said Minister Mhona.

He said the bilateral agreements were confirmation that the country was a ‘friend to all and enemy to none' which was the theme for this year's African Union (AU)'s anti-sanctions solidarity day commemorations to be held on the 25th of this month.

ZIDERA states among other issues that the U.S. intends to influence change of behaviour in the government of Zimbabwe by preventing the IMF and the International Development Association (IDA), among other International Financial Institutions, from extending financial support to Zimbabwe. According to Section 4(c) of ZIDERA titled "Multilateral Financial Restrictions," until the President of the United States makes the certification described in subsection 4(d), the Secretary of the Treasury Executive to each of the International Financial Institutions must oppose or vote against: "(i) an extension by the respective institutions of any loan, credit or guarantee to the Government of Zimbabwe. (ii) Any cancellation or reduction of indebtedness owed by the Government of Zimbabwe to the United States or any International Financial Institution".

Provisions of ZIDERA therefore confirm that U.S. sanctions against Zimbabwe are aimed at collapsing the country's economy and effect regime change.

Source - The Sunday News