Monday, 18 August 2014

Kazungula Bridge Project faces P710m funding gap

The Botswana Government is facing a mammoth P710 million bill to cover a funding gap for the construction of the Kazungula Bridge following the pulling out of the Japanese financiers.

Funded by loans from the African Development Bank, the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) as well as contributions from both Zambia and Botswana governments, the project’s ground breaking was initially scheduled for last month.

But the construction of the multi-billion Pula Kazungula Bridge is now only likely to begin towards the end of the year after JICA pulled out of the project over a ten- der valuation dispute.

“The funding gap for Botswana after JICA pulled out of Package 1 is $81 million (P710 million), which the Government of Botswana will finance under the Domestic Development Fund.

“Likewise, the Government of Zambia will find an alternative source of funding to fill the financing gap,” said Kgomotso Makwati, the public relations officer at the Ministry of Transport and communication. According to information obtained by the Business Week, at the centre at the dispute which led to JICA pulling out, was a disagreement over the technical evaluation of bids from three shortlisted firms. The firms included a joint venture between Japan’s Shimizu and South African Stefanutti, South Korea’s Daewoo and China Major Bridge Corporation.

The bridge construction project, including the one stop border posts as well as relocation of villagers on the Zambian side is expected to take four years at a cost of $259 million (P2.3 billion).

According to Morekisi, the two governments have since decided to award the tender for the construction of the bridge to Daewoo for $161 million, while other components of the project which include the building of two one-stop board er posts are still to be awarded.

Zambia, Botswana and Daewoo representatives were expected to meet in Livingstone, Zambia this week, where detailson the scope of work, procurement rules and contract terms were to be thrashed out. If negotiations with Daewoo are successful, the issue will be re- ferred back to political leaders with the contract mostly likely to be signed by September or October.

Source: Govt faces P710m Kazungula funding gap, Mmegi (15/08/14)

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