Govt evaluates Kazungula costs

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TRANSPORT minister Joel Matiza, pictured, says government is currently evaluating the cost of Zimbabwe’s integration into the Kazungula one-stop border-post and bridge after it completed all of the pre-construction works.

Plans for the 923-metre-long bridge linking Kazungula in Zambia with Botswana were first announced in 2007 by the governments of Zambia and Botswana to replace ferries connecting the two countries.

Zimbabwe was later drafted in to be part of the project in 2018 joining the two countries, which had already started preliminary works on the border.

“Zimbabwe’s incorporation into the project has a cost factor. The others have already done the work on the bridge, but we are supposed to be sharing the amount, which is US$600 million, and that means Zimbabwe has to put up US$200 million,” Matiza told a regional summit on infrastructure last week.

“In addition, our incorporation to the existing border-post infrastructure will also be at our own costs, and the road that brings Zimbabwe to the bridge also has to be done at our cost.

“So at this point we are doing the computations on these costs and once it is done, we will present to Cabinet for approval, at which point we will get on with the project,” he said.

“It might look as though nothing is happening, but there are pre-construction activities that need to take place and there is a gestation period,” the minister added.

Matiza said all other pre-construction procedures, including feasibility studies and the appointment of a consultant, had been completed.

“Cabinet approved a model to adopt what was already there, and with that out of the way, there remained other issues that had to be looked at such as road rules.

“The next phase was to look at the consultant who is going to do the whole process of integration, and again it was agreed that it was better to use the existing consultant,” the minister noted.

The project is expected to greatly improve freight efficiency in the region. Construction of the bridge, which includes international border facilities in Zambia and Botswana officially began on October 12, 2014 and is due for completion this year.

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