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Belarus buses, first batch expected before rain season.

Ransom Mandhlazi

FOLLOWING a state visit by President Emmerson Mnangagwa in Belarus, where several deals were signed, visiting Belarus Chief of Presidential Affairs G.C Sheiman said the delivery of the 500 buses offered to Zimbabwe to modernize its public transport will start coming before the raining season commence.

Speaking after meeting President Emmerson Mnangagwa, Mr Sheiman said what distinct Belarus from others is that they are not stingy with skills and technology and set to deliver buses tailor made for the Zimbabwean roads.

The new buses will grow the company’s fleet from the current buses servicing the country’s major towns and cities, of which some are provided by the private sector.

More deliveries are, however, expected as Government recently purchased 300 buses — 200 from South Africa and 100 from China — to provide a cheaper alternative mode of transport for the commuting public.

Reviving the country’s mass transport system is one of the many measures that Government is pursuing to deepen social safety nets, especially in the wake of the inherent pain associated with austerity measures as authorities move in to stabilise the economy.

Government has since started rolling out the food relief programme for both rural and urban areas to guarantee food security.

Zimbabwe is an important partner of Belarus in the Southern African region, and Belarus seeks to gradually reach the highest strategic level of cooperation with Zimbabwe.

This year, Presidents Emmerson Mnangagwa and President Alexander Lukashenko sealed nine agreements that see Zimbabwe and Belarus enhancing co-operation.

Both leaders described their engagement as fruitful, and pledged to continue consolidating the relationship, with Belarus committing to assisting Zimbabwe’s economic turnaround efforts.

The Belarusian leader expressed hope that President Mnangagwa’s visit will give impetus to the development of bilateral relations.

He stressed that Belarus is ready to help Zimbabwe overcome domestic political and economic difficulties.

Lukashenko added that he will visit Zimbabwe with great pleasure, but before that it is necessary to agree upon and implement several joint projects.

President Mnangagwa said Belarus and Zimbabwe have very close ties. “My administration and the people of Zimbabwe consider Belarus as a brotherly country,” he added.