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EZULWINI – The installation of windows and aluminum cladding done at the ICC&FISH hotel has cost taxpayers E140 million.

With E140 million, government could pay salaries to at least 14 000 educators whose salaries would range around E10 000 monthly. Though the work done at the hotel and convention centre is highly praised by contractors, certain parties believe the contract was too expensive. Aluminium and panel cladding is regarded as one of the most expensive alternatives in the building industry and can only be done by specialists.

ICC&FISH stands for the International Convention Centre (ICC) and Five-Star Hotel (FISH).
The project is monitored by contractors in the joint venture who are Kukhanya Construction, Inyatsi Construction and Steffanuti Stocks (KISS).

installation tenders

The tenders for the installation of the windows, which can be easily viewed when driving past Ezulwini, were awarded to two companies. It has been gathered that the companies include ACS Group, which fitted windows of the entire FISH hotel while the other company was Swazistar.
This company, according to information sourced from the Ministry of Economic Planning and Development, did the aluminum cladding at the convention centre.

world class job

Impeccable sources have confirmed that the contracts for the installation of windows exceeded E140 million due to the professional work and high technology that was used in the project.

“The companies did a world class job at the five star hotel, with technology competing with other world class companies in Africa,” a government engineer said.
Asked about the staggering price tag, the engineer said the specifications and designs were not an easy task as it needed experts for every fitting.
The ICC&FISH hotel is reportedly one of the most expensive hotels in Africa, with a cost amounting to E4.8 billion so far.

The project seeks to stimulate economic growth in the tourism sector as the hotel was envisaged to accommodate big international conferences.
The ICC building consists of a single building, with an approximate floor area of 40 000m2, that will house a 1 800-seat theatre, an exhibition centre, conferencing chambers, a restaurant and a multi-purpose hall across its two basements, a ground floor and a first floor.

The roofs will consist of a combination of concrete roof slabs and a structural steel roof structure, which will be covered either by steel roof sheeting or by glass.
Some of these curved structural steel roofs span 56 metres, and there is also an elliptically-shaped dome which spans up to 48 metres.
 The building finishes are of very high specifications and the facades are a combination of specialised cementations coatings, aluminum cladding and plaster and paint.

luxurious bathrooms

The Eswatini News reported that the facility was being fitted with luxurious bathrooms that would cost the taxpayer at least E275 000 per bathroom.
 The total amount that government was expected to pay for the bathrooms was fixed at E78 million.
The total cost for the project now stands at over E4.8 billion. It was said that the bathrooms were manufactured and assembled in Italy and were being fitted by a local company, ACS Group, which is based in Matsapha.

Meanwhile, last year the House of Assembly approved the E1.2 billion International Convention Centre and Five Star Hotel (ICC&FISH) Loan Bill.
 It has also been reported that government further wanted to borrow E1.2 billion from the Export-Import Bank of the Republic of China on Taiwan.
 Of the E1.2 billion, it was mentioned in Parliament that E493 million would be used to pay outstanding debts.
As published by the Times SUNDAY last week, a source at the Ministry of Finance has claimed that a supplementary budget of E800 million will soon be tabled in parliament for works to complete the project.

Reacting to this, some MPs, who spoke on condition of anonymity, confirmed receiving news about the supplementary budget.
“We are waiting for it and once it has been filed we will oppose it. This is because we have received information and claims that there was a lot of rot going on there,” one of the the MPs said.
Meanwhile, Timothy Matsebula, Auditor General, last week told the Times that an audit exercise for the ICC&FISH project was ongoing and would soon be released.
“We were disturbed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Otherwise, an audit is in its final stages,” he said.

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