By Bodwa Mbingo | 2018-08-11
Having been briefed about a certain Science and Technology Park during one of his working trips outside the country and how it makes an annual turnover of over US$200 billion, the King wants the RSTP to make an initial annual turnover of about E10 billion.
His Majesty King Mswati III said it is important that the Park starts from humble beginnings with the aim of growing the annual turnover to US$10 billion (about E135 billion).
The King speaking at the official opening the Royal Science and Technology Park (RSTP) building at Nokwane which he christened Songco ndvongcondvo WeMaswati House yesterday.
He said the set turnover target was achievable since he was made to believe by the Parks he once visited.
He said Science and Technology Parks are the kind of projects that have been seen to literally transport countries to first world status as they are the heart and engines that propel the countries’ economies.
He said they have grown various countries’ economies by generating multibillions of dollars.
“There is one such Park I once visited in another country where I was told that it makes an annual turnover of US$200 billion (about E2.7 trillion) just on its own.
This is one such Park that I hope we will emulate as a country. I am sure when they started they were not entirely sure that they would make such a huge turnover, but they managed. This, therefore, poses a challenge for the country and although some may have doubts that it is possible for the country, but if we believe, it is possible,” said the King.
His Majesty sounded elated that a number of companies were already taking advantage of the opportunities availed by the Park by making use of the various facilities and further encouraged more to follow suit.
The King also highlighted that the country is lucky to have international partners such as India while disclosing that while he was in there to lay Eswatini’s cards on the table on planned projects they received an encouraging welcome from the Indian President and Prime Minister.
“While we were in India it was explained to us how their economy had developed and we were also able to share our purpose of establishing a science and technology park with them. Their President was excited by our plans and pledged to assist us. Immediately he gathered financial institutions to assist us, particularly the EXIM Bank, which he said would assist us financially and we were at liberty to discuss the terms. We were also very excited as such is unusual because usually when one asks for assistance they are then told ‘don’t call us, we’ll call you’.
We were given E240 million to start developing the Park and furthermore partnerships between Indian companies and local ones were formed and the work began earnestly.
That is why Angelique International Limited came into the country to develop what we are here to open today,” remarked the King.
The King further praised Angelique International Limited for a job well done in developing a Park of a first world status.
He praised the great cooperation between the country and India.
Govt needs E2.5bn more to complete RSTP infrastructure
Having successfully completed the construction of the Royal Science and Technology Park (RSTP) building at Nokwane, government still needs to inject an investment of E2.5 billion to compete the next scope of the entire project.
This was revealed by RSTP Board Chairman Professor Musa Dube when addressing His Majesty the King as he conceded that as a board they still have a long journey ahead of them in terms of the infrastructure development for the innovation park at Phocweni.
He disclosed that to-date, the total value of the infrastructure, including the facilities, that have so far been developed, is estimated at E900 million.
“Looking forward, and according to the master plan for the infrastructure and facilities development, which we have developed with the assistance of consultants from the Republic of China on Taiwan, namely, CECI Engineering Consultants Inc., and the Institute for Information Industry (III), to complete the next scope of the infrastructure and facilities of the 317 hectares of land, an additional capital investment of E2.5billion will be needed. “This capital investment will take care of the construction, of the basic infrastructure of the innovation park, housing facilities for the Biotechnology Park and the Innovation Park, Quality Testing and Assurance Research and Development (R&D) Lab, disaster recovery site for the National Data Centre, and a Fly-over Bridge to connect the Biotechnology Park to Matsapha Industrial Estate to access the dry-ports,” he disclosed.
Looking back at the project, Dube reminded the King that it was in August 2014 when the construction of the Information Technology Centre commenced after the project designs, feasibility, geotechnical and environmental studies were successfully concluded and approved.
He said funding for the project was secured through the good collaboration of the Government of Eswatini and the Government of the Republic of India. “Angelique International Limited (AIL) of India was successfully awarded a contract of US$20 million (E240 million) to construct the building, and upon completion, was handed-over to the Royal Science and Technology Park on 31st October 2016.
As part of the contract agreement, the Royal Science and Technology Park staff was taken to India to be exposed on how to manage and operate such as a facility. Furthermore, Angelique International Limited provided handholding of the staff of the Royal Science and Technology Park for a period of twelve (12) months, that is, up to December 2017,” he added.
Dube further shared where the Royal Science and Technology Park is coming from, where it is now, and where it is going. He said through the Act of Parliament of 2012, the Royal Science and Technology Park was established as a parastatal and the mandate was to advance research of science and related fields for the economic growth in the Kingdom of Eswatini. He said to do so they have been tasked with the development of an infrastructure which sits on a land area of 317 hectares for the purpose of enabling Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) in Eswatini.
He said the successful appointment of the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Vumile Dlamini and the staff has seen the parastatal complete the development of 158 hectares of land infrastructure of the Biotechnology Park at Nokwane, and the IT Centre here at Phocweni.
Dube said in view of the infrastructure that has been developed already, the Royal Science and Technology Park receives with both hands the responsibility of also managing and operating the special economic zone programme, which the parastatal has been mandated through a designation by government and believes they are more than ready to administrate the investors that will locate at the Special Economic Zone.
Songcondvongcondvo WeMaswati House
His Majesty the King christened the new Royal Science and Technology Park (RSTP) building Songcondvongco -ndvo WeMaswati House.
Speaking during its official opening at Nokwane yesterday, the King emphasised the importance of giving ‘the newly born baby’ a befitting Siswati name that would be audible and comprehensible even to the elderly citizens of the country.
The King further praised Indian company, Angelique International Limited, for a job well done in developing a Park of a first world status while also applauding the partnership the country entered into with the Indian government in developing the state of the art park.
He said even the Indian President Ram Nath Kovind during his recent visit to the country pledged that his country would avail even more assistance to Eswatini while hoping that any assistance would be used accordingly and that any money from that assistance would not disappear.
The King further encouraged companies to make use of the park as a hub for research in the country as he likened it to a dam where downstream farming projects then benefit from it.
On another note, the King noted that talent amongst Emaswati had grown immensely and encouraged the use of equipment availed by the park including a recording studio he felt is of world standards.
“We have to start making movies in the country. Today we’ve seen a recording studio of modern standards that produces top quality sound.
Our artists should make use of it to avoid instances where people cannot make out what they are singing about as the quality of their music is not top class.
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