By ZBC Reporter
Belarus has pledged to work with Zimbabwe in the assembling of more buses to strengthen the urban mass transportation system, and refuse trucks that will be used by local authorities countrywide.
The visiting Belarus delegation paid a courtesy call on the Minister of Local Government and Public Works, Honourable July Moyo this Wednesday to discuss areas of mutual cooperation.
The discussions by the two ministers were centred around strengthening the recently introduced urban mass transportation involving the use of conventional buses, and service delivery by local authorities through a partnership in the manufacturing of refuse trucks.
Speaking after closed-door deliberations, the Belarus Minister of Industry Honourable Piotr Parkhomchik said they are looking to spearhead the sustainability of Zimbabwe’s public transport system.
“We have started discussions with the aim of achieving two things, that is to improve Zimbabwe’s Urban mass transportation system by
tailor-making conventional buses that suit this region and above that we will also be manufacturing refuse trucks for use by local authorities as we have been made to understand that there is a challenge in this area.”
Preliminary work to assemble 300 Zimbabwe United Passenger Company (Zupco) buses in partnership with Belarus begun earlier this year, with Government setting up a taskforce to superintend over the implementation of the project, expected to take off soon.
The task force — made up of the ministries of Local Government and Public Works, Finance and Economic Development, Zupco and AVM Africa — has already come up with a roadmap for the project.
Design specifications of the buses have since been sent to the Eastern European country to determine the cost of the knocked-down kits.
A new fleet for the parastatal is also being progressively procured from China and South Africa.
Government’s targeted intervention through providing subsidised transport is meant to insulate commuters from extortionate fares charged by private transport operators.
Negotiations are also underway with Chinese manufacturers to set up bus assembling plants locally after Government recently procured buses from the Asian country.
Zimbabwe and Belarus enjoy cordial relations that have seen the country’s agricultural sector receiving a major boost following the launch of a mechanisation programme.