Mbabane: It costed neighboring South Africa E3.3 billion to build their state-of-the-art FNB Stadium, popularly known as Soccer City.
With a carrying capacity of 94 736, the FNB Stadium proudly hosted the 2010 FIFA World Cup, particularly the opening and closing ceremonies. Well, that was a decade ago but Eswatini government has E3.2 billion budgeted for a new stadium.
This was revealed in Prime Minister Ambrose Mandvulo Dlamini’s Post Covid-19 Eswatini Economic Recovery Plan delivered last Friday, August 14.
Already E10 million has been set aside for architect work with the project expected to be rolled out in the next three years.
The stadium, alongside an E816 million Referral Hospital which is at inception phase, a E1.6 billion new parliament building, E32.125 billion Thermal Power Plant and upgrade of Bulandzeni-Pigg’s Peak- Bulembu road worth E900 million are some of the projects earmarked by government to stimulate an economy crippled by Covid-19.
Communications Officer in the Ministry of Sports, Culture and Youth Affairs Sibongiseni Zondi said there were currently no new developments on the E3.2 billion budget when asked to share drawings and plans on how the project will be implemented.
According to the PM’s presentation, the Post Covid-19 Economic Recovery Plan consist of a E23.069 billion private sector-led investment with an additional E7.055 billion investment from Government.
In total, the Recovery Plan consists of 97 projects that are ready to be implemented within 18 months beginning July 1, 2020. These projects will inject a total of E30.123 billion into the economy, creating 40 126 jobs for recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic.
In a nutshell, the goal of the Recovery Plan is to attract private sector-led investment to stimulate economic activities for greater GDP production.
The private sector companies will commit to invest in the Eswatini economy in a ‘E20 billion re-investment to stimulate the economy’ 2020 Corporate Pledge. Here, existing companies in the country will commit a percentage of their balance sheet to be re-invested in the economy to drive and enhance local value chains.
The budget approved in February for the financial year 2020/21 stood at E24 billion in total expenditure and E21 billion in revenue – showing a budget deficit of E2.9 billion, which is equivalent to 4.3 per cent of GDP.
Now, with Covid-19 GDP is expected to fall by 6.7 per cent because of the lockdown and disruptions in economic activities.
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