MUTARE- The city’s vision to create a world class metropolis received a major boost after the National Social Security Authority (NSSA) unveiled an investment plan for the Sakubva Urban Renewal Project.
Initially, BancABC was expected to inject US$8 million for the first phase of the project before funding challenges stalled progress.
NSSA spokesperson, Getrude Chipamba, confirmed the development saying through the Sakubva Urban Renewal Project, they are targeting generating sustainable dividends by funding selected capital projects which enhance economic development.
She said NSSA investment thrust will target strategic sectors including infrastructure development, agriculture and renewable energy among others.
“NSSA is refocusing its investment thrust towards investments that will contribute to economic development and still achieve financial benefit for our contributors and pensioners. In our view, Sakubva Urban Renewal is one such project that is likely to have a huge economic impact.
“When considering investment in such projects, NSSA follows a well-defined investment process which involves a thorough due diligence process to establish the viability of undertaking the investment,” she said.
Focus will also be given to the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMES) at the Green Market or other commercially viable options that promote broad-based economic development, said Chipamba.
“NSSA as a social security provider has a keen interest in uplifting the living conditions of its members and Zimbabweans in general.
“NSSA is currently considering the Sakubva Urban Renewal Project as a potential investment with a focus on the areas that are likely to be commercially viable such as the (Murahwa) Green Market targeted at the SMEs,” she said.
Plan Infrastructure Development (PID) — the consultant and developer of Sakubva Renewal Project’s architecture and infrastructure planner- Hillary Mukaratirwa, said Central Government was pivotal in securing the NSSA funding.
He said through consultation with government NSSA was explored as a viable funding option for the Urban Renewal project.
“NSSA has shown a keen interest and will be playing a leading role in this crucial project.
“Other funders like BancABC and ZIMRE are still on board. These companies will fund different projects like the flea market, long distance bus terminus and high rise flats,” he said.
Mukaratirwa said when the project commenced, many companies were not keen to come on board because of the prevailing exchange rate at that time.
He said they are also targeting Insurance and Pensions Commission (IPEC) as NSSA participation is expected to increase appetite to many pension funds to come on board and invest in the project
“When the project started, the official exchange rate was around 1:25, while the parallel market rate was around 1:60. Many people we approached viewed the project as not viable as they said they would not recoup the money they would have invested.
“We now have a special purpose vehicle to run this project. “We expect that by March there will be a hive of activity in Sakubva as the economy and exchange rate have stabilized,” he said.
The Sakubva project is part of a broader national Urban Renewal Project initiative aimed at modernizing local cities including Mutare’s oldest and run-down suburb, in line with Government’s Vision 2030.
Mutare City Council has availed 225 hectares of land for construction of high rise flats, revamping of Sakubva Flea Market, Sakubva Bus Terminus, Murahwa Green Market Home Industries and Sakubva Vegetable Market.
A Special Economic Zone has also been established where a diamond cutting and polishing centre headlines the development of a US$175 million special economic zone that leverages on Chiadzwa diamonds.
It will be Zimbabwe’s first public SEZ to be developed on a 90 hectare plot, to promote value addition of diamonds, attract foreign direct investment, and ensure development of a regional hub for polishing and cutting of diamonds.
Other notable developments include a five star hotel, helipads, shopping malls, 300 residential stands, upmarket apartments, office and industrial parks that will centre on diamond beneficiation.