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Mnangagwa banks on Chinese bailout

by Staff reporter
30 Sep 2018 at 08:00hrs | Views
Harare City Council says it is yet to receive the remainder of a loan to upgrade its water infrastructure from a Chinese bank, seven years after the deal was struck.

Mayor Herbert Gomba said contrary to reports that the money was abused by the local authority, the Chinese funder stopped disbursements after a dispute arose over repayment terms.

"Let me put this on record: we only received $72 million from the Chinese loan, which is an equipment-based loan," he said.

"As council, we did not receive any amount directly, but equipment. I am glad to hear that when President Emmerson Mnangagwa went to China in April, the revival of this loan facility with government came up where a new payment plan was discussed.

"We are now hoping that we shall be on track to complete the rehabilitation."

Harare has been battling to provide potable water to its three million residents who consume an average of 1 400 mega litres per day.

The city's infrastructure only has capacity to pump not less than 720 mega litres with the improved Morton Jaffray water treatment plant, whose potential after full rehabilitation is only 900 mega litres.

Gomba said he was in talks with his town clerk and directors to allow residents to visit the water treatment plant to appreciate the challenges faced by the local authority

"I will engage with the director of water to allow residents to visit the treatment works so that they can see for themselves how we put to use the $72 million council received from China," he said.

Residents' groups have accused council of supplying contaminated water and in some areas not being able to supply at all.

This has exposed residents to outbreaks of diseases such as typhoid and cholera.

The latest outbreak of cholera has killed 49 people and left more than 7 000 hospitalised.

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