Treasury ready to finance Registry Building completion; project started in 1997 and was supposed to be finished 3 years later

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By Anna Chibamu

TREASURY has told Parliament it is ready to finance the New Registry Building completion which was delayed by an inflationary environment in the 2000s.

Parliament was also advised that 2022 funds to complete the building’s construction were yet to be released as the local government ministry was yet to use up its 2021 allocation.

The project commenced in 1997 and was supposed to have been completed in 2000.

The building is already in use despite fears around its safety, as cracks have begun to emerge.

Presenting oral evidence to the Defence and Home Affairs Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Tuesday, Finance ministry Chief Director responsible for Expenditure Management Pfungwa Kunaka said his ministry had not released funds for 2022 financial year because the Local Government ministry had not used the 2021 allocated funds.

“All the relevant documentation received throughout the period is to the effect that the project was receiving funding from treasury and we are glad that this is funding from the government,” he said.

“Our budgets over time have been carrying allocations appropriated for this project. Due to the time lapse, this project was being affected by the instability of the local currency since 2007. We were making allocations year in year out but because of inflation, allocations were getting eroded.

“This financial commitment would be released to them but inflation would erode so this affected the pace the contractors could execute the project. If we dollarisation era the shortage of foreign currency did impact on the implementation of the project,” said finance ministry chief director responsible for expenditure management Pfungwa Kunaka.

He however, admitted there were challenges in coordinating completion of the building.

“The registrar general had certain specifications which were not elaborated in the plan. Issues of coordination continued to arise. I would not call them disagreements but these were coordination challenges that came in,” added Kunaka.

“On financial resources, the project was not completely ignored in the national budget but the issue was foreign currency shortages.

“Challenges on workmanship in terms of sub-contracts, design shortcomings. The ministry was concerned about the delays so we took interest as the building had become an eye soar.

“Whilst the building is substantially complete, there are some areas of poor workmanship that may still need to be attended to and technical usage of the building. We have made an allocation in the 2021 budget which we released.

“This money was not used under 2021. We are surprised why the money was not used so in the current budget of 2022, treasury did not see need to allocate any funds to the project.”

Acting committee chairperson Albert Nguluve told Kunaka that Parliament was not happy with failure to allocate adequate funds for the building completion.