Tuesday, 10 July 2018

ED TO LAUNCH SPACE AGENCY

PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa is today set to launch the Zimbabwe National Geospatial and Space Agency (Zingsa) and tomorrow officiate at the groundbreaking ceremony of the Beitbridge modernisation project. Zingsa seeks to advance geospatial science, earth observation and satellite communication systems.
The use of satellite technology is expected to bring solutions in health, agriculture, mineral exploration, disaster management and the water management sectors. The National Geospatial Agency is being spearheaded by the Ministry of Higher Education, Science and Technology Development.

Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development Minister Professor Amon Murwira said President Mnangagwa will launch the space agency at the Harare International Conference Centre.

“We are going to launch the Zimbabwe National Geospacial and Space Agency. We are going also to launch the Zimbabwe National Qualifications framework and the Zimbabwe National Critical Skills Audit. His Excellency is going to do that at the HICC. It will be a live event,” said Prof Murwira.

“The functions of Zingsa are to design, conduct research development initiatives that promote advances geospatial science, earth observation, space, science, space engineering aeronautical engineering, astronomical engineering, satellite communication systems, global navigation satellite systems, land positioning systems, unmanned aerial vehicles and the launch of satellite when that time comes.”

He said the space agency will regulate and promote research and innovation aimed at advancing knowledge applications of geospatial science and space science, aeronautical science which is engineering as well as assimilate and disseminate aero space imagery.

“One of the most important things that we’re saying is that it should attach students in order to develop and sustain interest among Zimbabweans and collaborate with students and national research institutions in doing so.

“One of the most interesting things is that we want Zingsa to superintend over the formation of the space industry in Zimbabwe because as you know any industry is associated with its associated manufacturing capabilities,” said Prof Murwira.

He said for any country to grow, it must invest in new projects.
“In short we’re saying we want it to promote the peaceful use of space and support the environment conducive to industrial development in space technology, advance scientific, engineering and technological competencies of the country as well as to be a conduit for international cooperation in space related activities,” the Minister said.

He said Zingsa in its various sections will contribute to the health, agriculture mineral exploration, disaster management and water management sectors.
Presidential spokesperson Mr George Charamba said last night:

“The President will be visiting Beitbridge on Wednesday (tomorrow) for a ground breaking ceremony for the upgrading and expansion of the border post,” he said.
By the end of day yesterday senior Government officials from Matabeleland South province were still locked in meetings and attending to logistical issues ahead of the President’s visit.
Chairperson of the Beitbridge state functions committee, Mrs Kiliboni Ndou-Mbedzi, who is also the District Administrator said the stage was set for the ground breaking ceremony.

“We have covered enough ground in terms of logistics and as we speak people are busy on the ground preparing the venue,” she said.
Recently, the Head of State and Government said that Cabinet had approved the upgrading of the border post.

In addition, the President said he had since met with the directors of the company that won the tender to upgrade the country and Sadc’s busiest inland port.

Addressing a rally at Phelandaba Stadium in Gwanda recently, President Mnangagwa said his administration’s re-engagement initiative has seen Zimbabwe joining Zambia and Botswana in the construction of the Kazungula Bridge.

“I have already met with the directors of the company that won the tender to modernise and upgrade Beitbridge Border Post and they gave me assurance that all was on track.

“We are very hopeful that the project will be taking off the ground soon. In addition, we are also working on implementing the one stop border post with Zambia and Botswana at Kazungula. Through our reengagement Zimbabwe is now part of the Kazungula bridge project,” he said.

The Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Cde Patrick Chinamasa, allocated $14,5m from the national budget towards the upgrading of infrastructure at the border post.

“A total of $4,2 million will be spent on relocating the Vehicle Inspectorate Department (VID) from the border. Another $1.2 million is committed to constructing a modern border control building and $2,3 million is earmarked for refurbishing sewer and water reticulation facilities at Beitbridge.

“In addition $4 million is allocated towards construction of institutional flats to accommodate government workers at the border post,” he said while presenting the 2018/19 budget in December last year.

A further $2, 3 million will be spent on separating traffic lanes into; commercial, buses, private motorists and pedestrian.

An estimated 500 haulage trucks, 1 500 light vehicles, 100 buses and 15 000 people pass through the border post daily. A further 200 second hand vehicle imports arrive in the country from South Africa daily.

It is also understood that 70 percent of Zimra’s revenue is collected at Beitbridge border post alone as a result of the port of entry’s high economic activities.Herald

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