The Indonesian Ambassador to Zimbabwe and Zambia, Dewa Sastrawan, says more investment for a vibrant transport and logistics sector is required as the country reopens the economy and recover from the effects of the Covid-induced lockdown.
Zimbabwe implemented a national lockdown effective March 30, which saw businesses closing or working outside offices except for essential service providers. The lockdown restrictions have been relaxed which enabled industry and commerce to resume operations but observing regulations that limit the spread of the pandemic.
In this process, Ambassador Sastrawan said, a vibrant and efficient transport system will be necessary in line with increased economic activity as employees are going back to work.
This will be also crucial in enabling smooth trade, both at domestic and regional level.
"More investment into the transport sector is necessary especially now when people are going back to work," he said during the forth edition of a virtual Economic Development Outlook- New Normal symposium which was hosted by Global Renaissance Investments. The symposium focused on the transportation, logistics and infrastructure as key to economic recovery during and after Covid- 19.
Ambassador Sastrawan highlighted the importance of observing health standards that are necessary to limit the spread of the virus be it in passenger transport system or cargo.
"As the economy reopens, it is important to ensure adequate steps are taken to protect people as they move. This is why it's important to ensure there is sufficient and efficient transport system and logistics, not only for people but to enhance trade at all levels," he said.
He added that public private partnership (PPP) model could be ideal to improve the sector and this had been used in his country not only for building transport infrastructure, but also extended to medical field.
Prior Covid-19, Government had already identified efficient transport system as enablers for economic development, be it road, rail and air transport system. Also speaking on the same platform, chartered engineer, surveyor Costain UK MRICS MCInstCES Tafadzwa Chaduka, highlighted the need to look at transport and infrastructure from the perspective of the end user and it's importance in enhancing economic activity in the country and across borders.
Producers of perishables for instance horticulture require fast and efficient transport system for their produce.
"We develop infrastructure for the user, do they have confidence to use for instance that road, rail system or air," he quipped.
According to the 2020 Zimbabwe Infrastructure Programme, quality transport is crucial as it efficiently connects firms to markets, for inputs, products and technologies, whilst also reducing the cost of production and enhancing competitiveness on domestic and international markets.
In Zimbabwe road transportation remains the mode of choice and as such focus will be on dualising and upgrading targeted regional trunk roads that link the country with is neighbours.