Mashudu Netsianda, Senior Reporter
THE Zimbabwe National Roads Administration (Zinara) has disbursed about $12 billion to road authorities across the country for road maintenance and rehabilitation since the beginning of the year under the Emergency Road Rehabilitation Programme (ERRP).
Under the Infrastructure, Utilities and Digital Economy cluster, Zimbabwe’s economic blueprint, the National Development Strategy (NDS 1) prioritises completion of road rehabilitation projects.
The main aspirations of NDS1 include infrastructural development as a key enabler in attaining Vision 2030 of having an upper middle-income economy.
NDS 1 notes that “a road can become an economy” and in this regard, focus will be on development of feeder roads into communities as a way of developing underdeveloped remote areas.
Government declared a state of national disaster for all roads in February last year and subsequently launched the ERRP2 two months later under a budget of $33,6 billion.
Zinara does not do road works itself, but it is the collection authority for the two sources of revenue that must be spent on roads, the vehicle licence fees and the toll charges.
It disburses the money to the road authorities and then follows up to ensure that the money was spent on road works.
In Bulawayo, 65 major roads were named for rehabilitation including Siyephambili Drive, Fife Street, sections of Cecil Avenue and Khami Road, George Avenue and 23rd Avenue. The roads are now smooth for drivers after they were rehabilitated last year.
Cecil Avenue has been earmarked for rehabilitation from Bulawayo-Harare Highway to Hillside Road stretching 6,5km.
Surveys are underway to pave way for work that will start in due course on the Bulawayo-Victoria Falls Road stretching from Masotsha Ndlovu Avenue to Glenville Drive, Lady Stanley Avenue; rehabilitation of a 5km stretch of the Bulawayo-Gwanda Road from Ascot to Puma Service Station.
While the Government will be rehabilitating major roads that connect Bulawayo with other cities, Bulawayo City Council (BCC) is also expected to reconstruct some of its major roads.
More roads are expected to be attended to in the coming year as 70 percent of the city’s roads have outlived their lifespan.
According to BCC, the city requires at least US$700 million to rehabilitate its major roads.
Following the launch of the ERRP 2 last year, the Government has allocated over $1 billion for road rehabilitation works in Bulawayo.
In a statement yesterday, Zinara said it has so far distributed a total of $11 908 222 891,42 out of a total allocation of $16 973 426 393,18 for this year.
Bulawayo was this year allocated more than $1 billion with $177 million having been disbursed so far, Matabeleland North got more than $500 million with $257,4 million having been disbursed while Matabeleland South was allocated $495,1 million and received $285,4 million.
Midlands was allocated $857,6 million, Manicaland $607,7 million, Mashonaland Central $451,5 million, Mashonaland East $519,6 million, Mashonaland West $741,4 million, Masvingo $456,8 million.
In total countrywide, the Department of Roads was allocated over $6,3 billion, the District Development Fund (DDF) $4,5 billion, urban councils $3,2 billion, while rural district councils got $2,8 billion.
Commenting on the latest disbursements, Zinara spokesperson Mr Tendai Mugabe said the roads’ fund administrator will continue to allocate money for road rehabilitation works in line with its mandate.
“We disbursed more than $11 billion towards road rehabilitation and we have published our disbursements in line with our thrust which epitomises transparency and accountability,” he said.
“For time to time, we will be releasing statements on the disbursement on a quarterly basis so that the motoring public are able to see where the money we collect is going. We also urge road users to comply with the law by paying vehicle licences.”
Mr Mugabe said it is evident that from the roadworks that are taking place across the country that the money that they distributed under ERRP 2 was used for the purpose that it was disbursed for.
Zinara disburses funds to road authorities including local authorities, Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure Development and DDF.
Bulawayo Provincial Affairs and Devolution Minister Judith Ncube said the implementation of the ERRP 2 programme shows that the Second Republic is walking the talk on fixing the country.
“While we started very slowly largely due to shortage of raw materials that are needed for road rehabilitation, we have made relative progress in terms of the reconstruction of some of the key roads in the city. I am quite happy that there are some roads that have been reconstructed in Bulawayo such as Siyephambili Drive, George Avenue, 23 Avenue and 8th Avenue among other roads,” she said.
“We are optimistic that the responsible ministry will address some of the challenges that affected the smooth implementation of the programme this year.”
Matabeleland North Provincial Affairs and Devolution Minister Richard Moyo said the Government has been able to fulfil its promises to the citizens.
He said the Second Republic under the stewardship of President Mnangagwa, set a massive life-changing target of transforming Zimbabwe into an upper middle-income economy by 2030.
“Under the Second Republic, President Mnangagwa is championing infrastructure revolution which is a key enabler towards the realisation of Vision 2030. The ongoing roadworks under ERRP are anchored on the clear roadmap and economic blueprints as articulated in the National Development Strategy 1 (NDS1),” said Minister Moyo. “
He said in most parts of the province, the ERRP is progressing very well and communities are satisfied with works being done.
“As a province, we are satisfied with the works being undertaken by the Government under the ERRP and disbursement has been done to all road authorities which include local authorities, department of roads and District Development Fund,” said Minister Moyo. – @mashnets