FILE PHOTO: Minister of Defence and War Veterans Affairs Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri inspects construction progress at the Manyame Airbase Military Hospital

Manyame Airbase Military Hospital project goes up in smoke

Defence and Home Affairs Committee chairperson Levy Mayihlome said he would lobby Treasury to allocate more funds for the project.

GOVERNMENT is failing to press ahead with the construction of the Manyame Airbase Military Hospital for army VVIPs and war veterans because it has run out of funds.

This came out yesterday when chief architect of the hospital, Rumbidzai Dimairho appeared before the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Defence and Home Affairs chaired by Levy Mayihlome.

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Apart from insufficient funding, the project has also gone up in smoke as most of the contracted staff were hit by a bout of Covid-19 which slowed down the construction, leading to hyperinflation setting in.

“We could not meet the initial deadline because of hyperinflation which is affecting the procurement of materials due to price fluctuation,” Dimairho said.

“This year, the contractor applied for an extension of time and submitted a new programme of work with a revised completion date.

“However, during this revised contract period, we have suffered a rise in COVID-19 cases which affected workers around the site resulting in slowing of the speed of work on site.”

Finance minister Mthuli Ncube recently disclosed that he had committed close to $270 million towards construction of the VVIP hospital.

Defence and Home Affairs Committee chairperson Levy Mayihlome said he would lobby Treasury to allocate more funds for the project.

“We feel that this hospital needs funding, we understand the cost escalation that is affecting the project and the COVID-19-induced delays.

“When we go back to Parliament, we will make sure that whatever they pledged in the budget to be announced tomorrow (today) to this hospital is fulfilled,” Mayihlome said.

Beitbridge East MP Albert Nguluvhe (Zanu PF) said the hospital should be big enough to accommodate members of the army and war veterans.

The facility will benefit service chiefs and VVIPs who have been accused of blowing scarce foreign currency seeking medical treatment in foreign countries like China and India, because the country has dilapidated medical facilities.

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