The resumption of works at the expansion of the Hwange Thermal Power Station (HPS) and modernisation of the Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport, a few weeks after ground-breaking ceremonies, is testimony to the new administration’s commitment to implementing key projects on time.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa commissioned at the expansion of HPS on June 27 while the RG Mugabe International came on board on July 23.
Works on both projects have begun, which will see HPS generating 600MW from units 7 and 8 which will be added to the plant while new technologies and efficiency in the facilitation of passengers, aircraft and cargo would be brought to RG Mugabe Airport.
Deputy Chief Secretary in the Office of the President and Cabinet Dr Ray Ndhlukula told Business Weekly on Wednesday that the commencement of works at the key projects is indicative of the new administration’s determination to implement such projects on time.
“It’s a result of the results-based approach that the new Government has adopted in project implementation,” said Dr Ndhlukula.
“We now have a clear work plan in terms of how we do business, the Rapid Results Approach (RRA), which we follow. RRA has clear time-lines and in other words, if your project does not meet the timelines, it would have failed.
“We are completely moving away from the past when projects would be signed but no timelines for concluding the projects would be set. The ruling party (ZANU-PF) and Government have assured people that they will be implementing projects through the RRA and will also focus improving the ease of doing business.”
The HPS expansion will cost $1,5 billion, with works at the RG Mugabe Airport costing $153 million.
The funds will come from the China Eximbank.
Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC) managing director Patrick Chivaura recently said a project “kick-off meeting” was done in China from July 23 to 26 and the project officially commenced on August 1.
Excavation works and construction of the foundation of some areas, which essentially refer to the contractor’s camp and administration offices, electromechanical warehouse, batching plant and plant area; were done early August and their status could not be established this week.
The project, will be implemented in 42 months, had idle for 10 years and only got a kiss of life when President Emmerson Mnangagwa was invited to China by that country’s President, Xi Jinping in April.
Former Transport and Infrastructural Development Minister Dr Joram Gumbo also confirmed that works at RG Mugabe Airport had started with the levelling the VVIP side where two aero bridges would be erected.
Said Dr Gumbo: “It is very interesting work that is taking place at the airport since the groundbreaking ceremony that took place on July 23.
“This was a quick response on the implementation of the project by the company, China Jiangsu. I can confirm that they swiftly moved on site to start work to indicate that they are interested in the project.”
In his inauguration speech on November 24 last year, President Mnangagwa announced that he was going to “hit the ground running”, and the take-off of the major projects signifies the fulfilment of his pledge.
Architecture of the airport project
The modernisation of the RG Mugabe International Airport is being undertaken by China Jiangsu International.
The upgrade, which is in line with Government’s aspirations to rehabilitate aviation infrastructure across the country to attract more international airlines and consequently passengers, will conclude in 36 months.
There will be three additional aero bridges, a new satellite fire station, a modern terminal building and a new VVIP pavilion, are some of the key features to be added to the RG Mugabe International Airport.
Passenger handling capacity will also rise to six million per annum from the current 2,5 million.
The car park will also be transformed into a multi-storey facility with capacity to handle hundreds of vehicles.
The runway would be expanded to allow for concurrent multiple landings, contrary to the current situation whereby planes land one at a time.
Considering that the RG Mugabe Airport is the gateway into country, the modernisation project is targeted at ensuring that the airport reflects the hospitality of Zimbabwe, and the beginning of a “memorable experience” for visitors.
On completion, the Airport is expected to give the country to gain a competitive edge over its neighbours, who are continuously upgrading their main gateways.
The $153 million concessional loan facility has a seven-year grace period, an annual 2 percent interest rate, 0,25 percent commission fees and management fees pegged at the same rate.
It has a tenure of 20 years inclusive of the seven-year grace period.
Hwange Power project
The expansion of HPS is expected to ensure reliable power supply in the country. Exports could be made in the next few years if the economy does not demand more electricity.
The project is expected to bring about massive socio-economic transformation through increased supply of energy to the mining, agricultural and manufacturing sectors.
It is expected that over 7 000 jobs will be created, directly and indirectly, at the peak of the project.
Employment creation was central to the ruling ZANU-PF’s election manifesto.
Creation of decent jobs speaks to “Vision 2030” of a middle income country.
On completion after 42 months, HPS’s installed capacity will rise to 1 520MW from the current 920MW.