GOVERNMENT will spend an estimated $50 billion towards the construction of a new parliament building at a time when more urgent capital projects are stalled due to financial constraints.
The multi-billion dollar project, which has been on the cards for almost a decade, will bloat state expenditure which has been gallopping beyond revenues.
Public Works minister Ignatius Chombo said in an interview this week the new building would cost government “some few billions”. He said government would fork out about $20 billion for the actual construction while the interior design would cost about the same.
He said government would need a further $10 billion to cover displacement costs for people living in the Kopje area and to beef up security. He said government would purchase surrounding buildings for “security reasons”.
Architectural plans and designs for the new building have been flying between the ministries of Public Works and Justice in readiness for the start of construction work.
Chombo’s ministry has appointed itself the project managers while the interior decoration and specialised jobs will be contracted to local and foreign companies.
“We have visited the place (site of building) more than three times. The construction will cost between $15-20 billion. That’s the average figure we have now,” said Chombo this week.
“It is however the interior decorations, the marble and electronic systems that will cost billions. We want to make it a monumental structure,” he said.
Construction of the new parliament building has taken priority over other vital national projects. Government is struggling to raise money for the long-stalled Matabeleland Zambezi Water Project and Kunzvi Dam, which is expected to ease Harare’s water problems. Work on Tokwe-Mukorsi Dam has been adversely affected by shortage of funding.
Other stalled capital projects are the Harare-Chitungwiza railway line and the dualisation of the Harare-Bulawayo and the Harare-Masvingo highways.