PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe yesterday pledged his government will move to vigorously tackle the crippling water crisis in Bulawayo and Harare, despite earlier advice to the two cities to look to MDC-T for service delivery.
Speaking during the official opening of the Eighth Parliament in Harare, Mugabe said a $144 million Chinese loan would be made available to revamp water infrastructure in the capital.
He said a similar facility should be extended to Bulawayo, which is already experiencing severe water shortages after two supply dams dried up this year.
“Citizens in some of our urban set-ups, especially Harare and Bulawayo, have for quite some time now endured unreliable water and sanitation services,” Mugabe said.
“This challenge stems mainly from the lack of capacity in some of the local authorities, the poor state of sanitation and water related infrastructure and expanding growth of our urban population.
“I am pleased to note that the disbursement of a sum of $144 million by way of a loan facility from China for the upgrading of Harare water and sanitation treatment infrastructure will commence soon.”
He said within the next seven years three new dams and additional water treatment plants would be constructed in Harare.
“It is my hope that such a turn- around initiative will be replicated in Bulawayo,” Mugabe said.
He said his government would also expedite the completion of various strategic water development projects.
“The water projects have been boosted by Zimbabwe’s successful bids to host the Zambezi Water Board Commission whose objective is the promotion of efficient utilisation of the water resources along the Zambezi water course,” he said.
Mugabe said the government would mobilise funds for the revival of closed and distressed companies.
The government has been struggling to finance industrial recapitalisation with the disbursement of the Distressed Industries and Marginalised Areas Fund (Dimaf) doing little to alleviate the plight of struggling companies.
As of May, only $19 million out of $40 million had been disbursed under Dimaf.
Bulawayo companies had received $11,9 million from the allocation and this was described as a drop in the ocean by analysts.