Parly summoned to ratify Chinese deal

President Robert Mugabe has requested parliament to sit tomorrow to ratify the $164 million loan from China for the upgrading of the Victoria Falls Airport ahead the UN World Trade Organisation symposium slated for next year.

The loan deal had reportedly caused a rift in the government due to untenable Chinese demands.

The country’s level of preparedness for the global tourism showcase to be co-hosted with Zambia came into the spotlight after revelations by a senior government official that the country had used computer generated images as well as lied about the state of the country’s infrastructure, particularly the Victoria Falls airport and medical facilities, to UNWTO organizers when he appeared or a parliamentary portfolio committee hearing.

The controversial Chinese deal which is believed to have been agreed on in principle in April this year had been held back amid reports that contents of the deal caused a rift in cabinet, which forestalled its implementation.

The deadlock saw hardly any progress being made on the upgrading of the Victoria Falls airport as well as on the building of a medical facility in Victoria Falls in preparation for the visiting UNWTO officials next year.

Stung by lack of financial resources, the government appears to have resorted to the Chinese loan in order to make the event a success.

Both the House of Assembly and the Senate are expected to rubber stamp the loan agreement in line with Section 111B of the constitution which allows for the parliament’s approval of international grants with financial ramifications for the government.

Both houses had adjourned to the 3 September. Zimbabwe and Zambia are co-hosting the global tourism event set to boost the tourism fortunes of both countries.

However, both countries have been trading blame on their preparedness, with Zimbabwe accusing its partner of not taking the event seriously.

Zambia has changed its tourism ministers, a development Zimbabwe feels jeopardizes efforts to successfully hosting the event.

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