The government has allocated US$20 million to cover the costs of the initial works of the Gwayi-Shangani dam project, paving way for the contractor to move on site.

The initial stages of the much awaited Gwayi-Shangani dam which requires a total of US$2 billion have kicked off following the mobilisation of resources .

The US$20 million will cover the design, excavations,  surveys as well as the rehabilitation of roads among other expenses.

According to the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Environment, Water and Climate, Mr Prince Mupazviriho, the project which is expected to be completed after five years, is long overdue and government is currently looking at various funding models to ensure that the construction does not stop midway until it is completed.

“We then say what is it that we need to do so that we keep traction, so we want to make sure that there is no stop, start stop start because when you do that it then has a huge impact on cost over runs so we are looking at how best we can go round it,” he said.

The construction phase is expected to create thousands of jobs for the local community.

The project is expected to turn Matabeleland North Province into a hub of crop and livestock production.

At its completion, the dam is also expected to boost water supplies to the city of Bulawayo.