Delayed Projects Should Be Completed For Country To Achieve Economic Growth

By Phiwa Sikhondze

Senator Neil Rijkenberg, and former finance minister has urged the government and the private sector to focus on finishing and utilizing the projects that are underway in the country, to boost the economic growth and development.

Rikkenberg wasspeaking at the Mandvulo Grand Hall on Tuesday when Senators & Members of Parliament had gone to greet the King.

The former Minister noted that Eswatini has many projects that are taking a long time to finish, causing huge cost overruns and delays.

He pointed out that a prompt completion of these projects can be a solution to the country’s economic crisis. He said that the country needs to prioritize and expedite the completion of these projects, such as the International Convention Centre, the Five-Star hotel, the, the Data Recovery Centre, and the Biotechnology Park.

“We need to really focus on the projects that are taking a long time to finish. Your Majesty, we need to make sure that we finish the ICC in 2024. We can finish the ICC. We need to finalize LUSIP phase two. We need to make sure that Ngwavuma goes according to the plan in about four and a half years. Your Majesty, we need to finish the Data Recovery Centre. Your Majesty, we need to make sure the Biotechnology Park is finished,” Rijkenberg said.

He also identified the better use of Eswatini Nation Land as the main sleeping economic giant in the country.

Rijkenberg said that half of the arable land in the country is not being used, or is being used for low-value crops, such as maize. He said that the country needs to go back to the drawing board and come up with a strong strategic plan on how to take advantage of the land and grow the economy through agriculture.

Rijkenberg’s submissions were echoed by former Minister of Commerce Industry and Trade, Manqoba Khumalo who noted that the delays are a cause of the country’s economic crisis. Khumalo said that delayed payments to service providers is another issue that needs urgent attention in order to see economic progress. “The duty of parliament is to cooperate with the government to ensure that income generated through these projects gets back to the country’s coffers so that the nation benefits. When the country has enough resources and all its need are met, EmaSwati will be happy and more projects are completed on time because another cause of delay in completion of projects is the fact that we sometimes do not pay service providers yet we expect them to deliver,” he said.

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