By Nqobile Tshili
The Bulawayo City Council has said the Egodini Mall project has missed set deadlines owing to the prevailing economic challenges with the contractor mulling suspending construction works.
In 2016 TTPL won a US$60 million tender for the redevelopment of Basch Street Terminus, popularly known as Egodini, under a Build Operate and Transfer facility.
TTPL only moved on site last year in March leading to the relocation of vendors and transport operators, a development that has led to congestion in the Central Business District.
In its latest report to council, TTPL said the first phase of the project that was earmarked for completion this month would be completed next year.
“Predominantly as a result of the changed macro-economic environment, Phase 1 of the project is now anticipated to be completed either at the end of Quarter 1 2020 or beginning of Quarter 2 2020,” reads the report.
The first phase included the construction of informal trader’s stalls, taxi rank and public toilets.
TTPL said there are a lot of changes in the economy that have resulted in the company facing challenges in working on the project.
“The project has not been immune to the currency and fiscal policy reforms under taken in 2019: Change of currency: The sudden introduction of the ZWL in June 2019 as the sole legal tender meant that all arrangements (eg bill of quantity, construction contracts, procurement contracts, lease contracts) had to be revisited to enable continuation of planned development activities. The developer has been making progress in this regard notwithstanding the inherent time delays,” reads the report.
According to the report, TTPL said due to the inflation rate in the country, suspending the project was also going to be “very reasonable.”
It however, said it was devising methods to continue working on the project without bringing it to a halt, albeit very slowly.
“Inflation rate: With inflation last reported as being more than 150 percent, the project has experienced challenges with suppliers and sub-contractors who are unwilling to price for periods longer than seven to 14 days. This has introduced significant challenges in terms of procurement and budgeting. Under such circumstances, it would not be unreasonable to suspend construction works. However, the developer has adopted a ‘work packages’ approach in an attempt to mitigate against this challenge and continue with works on site notwithstanding any inherent time delays,” reads the report.
It said that it is their hope that pronouncements that inflation is expected to decline by year end could help alleviate prevailing challenges.
The report said despite the economic challenges there has been notable progress on the development of the project.
It said so far 90 Bulawayo residents have been directly employed by the company.The Chronicle