Zimbabwean government to invest more in infrastructure construction

HARARE, Dec 02, 2009 (Xinhua via COMTEX) -- The Zimbabwean government plans to invest more heavily in infrastructure to underpin burgeoning economic growth and improve service delivery.

Presenting the 2010 National Budget in parliament, Finance Minister Tendai Biti said on Wednesday the country has invested little in infrastructure in the last few years and this is constraining the economy.

He said that in 2010, the government will set aside 52.6 million U.S. dollars to refurbish power generating and transmitting infrastructure, including 5.5 million U.S. dollars for rural electrification.

Provision of power in rural areas is expected to boost economic growth since the areas are a major contributor of raw material particularly for agro-based industries.

Biti said 38.3 million U.S. dollars have been earmarked for transport infrastructure, including roads and rail. And 9.7 million U.S. dollars would be used for the dualization of the Gweru-Beitbridge and Beitbridge-Bulawayo roads.

The aviation industry received a total of 20.3 million U.S. dollars for the completion of refurbishments at the country's main national airports.

Biti said provision of clean, uninterrupted water supplies is also key for economic growth, and the government has set aside funds for this.

"There has been no meaningful investment in water and sanitation," he said.

He said 12.6 million U.S. dollars would go to Zimbabwe National Water Authority to enable it to complete water supply systems to growth points.