Mbabane: Members of the Parliament have moved a motion which seek to task the Honourable Minister of Finance in consultation with the Honourable Minister of Public Works and Transport to, within thirty (30) commence a process of sourcing funds and a contractor for the completion of the Nhlangano-Sicunusa road.
The Lawmakers told Honourable Minister of Finance Neal Rijkenberg to implement the Public Private Partnership policy in a bid to source funds and finding the contractor of the road.
The motion was moved by Siphocosini Member of Parliament Mduduzi Matsebula and was seconded by Endzingeni MP Lutfo Dlamini. The lawmakers emphasized that the project has dragged for so long hence their purpose in moving this motion is to see the road being completed.
The road was initially planned to be completed within two years but it has been more than five years now still incomplete.
MP Mduduzi Matsebula spoke about the advantages of the PPP policy mentioning it can save the country in so many ways if the Ministries in question adopt the motion in the stipulated time.
Public Private Partnerships provide a means of cooperation between public and private sector for development and/ or operation of infrastructure and provision of services, help improve quality and efficiency of public services, provide the necessary resources to cover investment needs and also provide a means to harness private sector investment, in particular private finance and the related operational efficiencies in the provision of public assets and services.
MP Lutfo Dlamini told the Minister of Finance Neal Rijkenberg that as the August House their wish is that when the two aforementioned Ministries adopt the motion, they should at least find local private companies to do the work. It is believed that the reason why the MP insisted on hiring local companies was because prior there was the Portuguese contractor Gabriel Couto which then pulled out of the project.
Minister of Finance Neal Rijkenberg welcomed the motion saying they will work around it in the given time and they will then bring back a response to the house on or around the 30 days period.
Minister Rijkenberg highlighted that whilst PPPs offer a number of advantages, they are not a miracle cure to all infrastructure and service challenges of the public sector. PPPs tend to be very complex hence the need for a policy to guide and regulate its implementation.
On or around February 2020, the Times of Eswatini reported that government was given three options for the reconstruction of the road.
First, it was urged to cancel the contract with Kukhanya altogether or allow this contractor to continue with the project in dribs and drabs.
The last option was to adopt the much favoured principle of Public Private Partnership (PPP), which would see another contractor taking over the project. Minister of Public Works and Transport Chief Ndlaluhlaza Ndwandwe said various options were being considered for the project to continue. Clearly the MPs now want the last option of adopting the PPP.
According to the Post-COVID-19 Economic Recovery Plan, government has budgeted an additional E500 million for the incomplete project, described by Auditor General Sipho Matsebula as a disaster. This project is now one of the most expensive government public works as it will cost the taxpayer a sum of E1.032 billion. That increases the project cost by 346 per cent.
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