Inyankuni decommissioning dents Bulawayo’s economic revival

THE decommissioning of Inyankuni Dam has further dented prospects of economic revival for Bulawayo presently reeling under crippling erratic water shortages.

Gamma Mudarikiri
Own Correspondent

The Bulawayo City Council on Monday announced that it had decommissioned Inyankuni Dam, raising fears of a serious water crisis in the city.

Last month, council was forced to decommission Upper Ncema Dam due to low capacity attributed to poor rainfall patterns in Matabeleland South.

The city now remains with three out of five dams — Insiza, Lower Ncema and Umzingwane and Mtshabezi Dam — as the only available sources of surface water supplyIn the past decade, a number of firms have relocated, mostly to Harare, citing chronic water shortages in Bulawayo. The latest decommissioning of Inyankuni has sent shivers down the spines of business people and industrialists who fear another mass exodus of firms.

Bulawayo Business Arise administrator George Mukamba said the decommissioning of a second dam was a sad development for industry in Bulawayo.

He pointed out that the city was currently saddled with a plethora of challenges ranging from financial constraints, huge debts, erratic water and power supplies.

“The water crisis in Bulawayo has been there for ages and it is time we have to identify opportunities in our problems,” Mukamba said.

“The new government must create an investor-friendly environment to fund capital projects like water infrastructure.”

He added that as the local business community, they would be engaging the new government with regards water infrastructure and the finalisation of long-standing plans to declare Bulawayo as a special economic zone.

According to statistics from Industry and Commerce ministry, 84 companies closed shop last year while an additional 64 were said to be on the verge of collapse.

Lucky Mlilo, the chief executive officer of the Association of Business in Zimbabwe, urged the new government to address Bulawayo’s perennial water problems if industries were to recover.

He said the decommissioning of Inyankuni Dam was a big blow to economic recovery prospects.

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