Government has failed to complete more than 400 construction projects and continues to lose millions of dollars as material at the sites gets damaged or vandalised, a Cabinet minister has said.
Public Works Minister Gabbuza Joel Gabuza said the contractor would levy an additional cost to the Government on resumption of the project to recover material such as cement and other equipment lost.
He said some of the projects would lie idle even in circumstances where the project would be 95 percent complete.
The Minister said this on Monday while giving oral evidence before a Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Public Works.
"We have about 400 projects at various stages of completion. Some of the projects have been idle for the past 15 years. Material gets damaged. Some of the projects like Nkayi registry needs as little as US$5 000. At Mwenezi registry we just need a door and a ceiling to be put in place before completion," he said.
As an intervention measure, said Minister Gabuza, no new projects would be undertaken. He said Government would prioritise projects that required little money for completion.
Minister Gabuza said people were sent to project areas when there was no funding. He said there was a need for Treasury to directly allocate money for construction to his ministry.
The minister said line ministries had in the past bought wrong material for given projects.
Minister Gabuza bemoaned poor conditions of service saying engineers and other professionals were leaving.
"An electric engineer's starting salary would be around US$4 000 at Zesa but in Government he earns around US$300," he said.
The Minister said Government spent more than US$400 000 in renting buildings.
He said the money could be used to build offices.
On Quality International Hotel that Government bought for Parliament, Minister Gabuza said nothing had been done to spruce up the hotel.
He said Parliament indicated that they wanted to appoint their project manager to work with the Ministry of Public Works.
Minister Gabuza said he was not aware of the new Parliament building in Mount Hampden.
He said he had only read about it in the media.
He, however, said the new building should be designed by Zimbabweans who had an appreciation of the country's history and culture.