Mugabe Govt Clashes With Chinese Contractors Over Pay

Chinese contractors building the National Matabeleland-Zambezi Water Project (NMZWP) to supply water to depleted former industrial capital Bulawayo have abandoned most of the work after the bankrupt government of Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe failed to pay them, Now Daily can exclusively reveal.
The government has now mortgaged its lucrative gas concessions in Lupane for a song to another Chinese firm in the hope of getting advance payment to keep the water project going, it emerged.
The development comes after the Chinese government apparently backtracked on an agreement signed in July 2012 in which Beijing promised to provide a $1.2 billion grant for NMZWP to the government through China Export-Import Bank.
The loan failed to materialize, causing one of the main contractors, China International Water and Electric abandoning the site. The 2015 schedule for completion of the work has now been disrupted, with officials now estimating that water from the Zambezi River in the north may not reach Bulawayo until 2018 at the earliest, if funds become available immediately.
Minister of Environment, Water and Climate, Saviour Kasukuwere admitted that the NMZWP had run into serious financial problems.
“We have been struggling to pay (the Chinese firm constructing the dam) enough for the work they are doing,” Kasukuwere told the Senate recently. “How long will it take us to get the water to Bulawayo? It is going to be a mammoth task. It requires no less than $800 million to construct a pipeline from Gwayi to Bulawayo. We are talking to various interested companies. We hope we will be able to strike some agreement which will see us being able to complete that pipeline.”
Kasukuwere confirmed government plans to start discussions with the company that is shortly expected to exploit natural gas in the area.
“They will assist us on the basis of an agreement where they will be taking water from the dam and upload and upfront us in terms of payment for us to be able to support and pay the company that is currently constructing the dam,” Kasukuwere claimed, but this could not be verified with the gas company. He estimated water from Zambezi would reach Bulawayo in 2016, which expects said was highly unrealistic.
The China Dalian Technical Group was responsible for constructing the pipeline but is reported to have dumped the project, only maintaining a token presence.


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