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Govt intervenes in Bulawayo water crisis

by Staff reporter
09 Mar 2024 at 09:16hrs | Views
GOVERNMENT has pledged to assist Bulawayo City Council (BCC) ease the city's unrelenting acute water shortages.

Late last month, government gave BCC ZWL$7 billion to push such water projects as the Glass Block Dam and Nyamandlovu aquifer, some of the sources of raw water for the city.

Addressing journalists in Bulawayo this week, Local Government minister Winston Chitando said government was fully committed to addressing Bulawayo's water crisis.

"There was a disbursement of ZWL$ 6,9 billion at the end of February for the City of Bulawayo as part of devolution funds. Some of that money is required in local currency and some of it in foreign currency depending on the nature of what the local authority projects to be implemented," he said.

"For example, if they want to buy cement they will use that local currency, but if they want to purchase inputs from outside the country they will now need to go to the foreign exchange mechanism to get money through the central bank. We are going to have a regular conduct to see how we as a ministry of governance can then play that interface role with the Finance ministry and the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe to ensure we have critical situations like we have here whereby we try to facilitate [on] foreign currency."

Chitando added that government will ensure that there is a short term solution to the water situation in Bulawayo.

"The short term measure to address the water situation in Bulawayo, firstly is the security arrangements at Nyamandlovu that will be implemented. There is need to source for the US$14m required and BCC has a number of partners to participate in funding the project-we will assist the city to get foreign currency to address the water situation in the short term period," said Chitando.

Bulawayo Mayor David Coltart confirmed that the local authority received the money, but is facing challenges in securing foreign currency.

"That money is already in the council's accounts. The problem is that it is in local currency, we have gone out to contract private companies for some of the work which needs to be done, for example, the rehabilitation of Umzingwane and Inyankuni pump stations," he said.

"We don't manufacture these large pumps in the country, hence need to be imported. The companies demand payment in foreign currency, that is the problem."

Source - newsday