Nqobile Tshili, Chronicle Correspondent
THE Government is considering engaging private players to fund the construction of roads through Private Public Partnerships (PPPs).
The Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development, Dr Joram Gumbo said he has since applied to the Minister of Finance and Economic Development Cde Ignatius Chombo to give him a go ahead to engage private players on the project.
Dr Gumbo made the remarks yesterday in Tsholotsho after touring the Tsholotsho-Phelandaba Road which links Phelandaba area and Tsholotsho centre where he pledged funds for the rehabilitation of the road.
He said companies that are going to be engaged in the PPPs will recoup their investments through tollgate payments.
“What I’m proposing to do regarding most of our roads, I’ve have already written to the Minister of Finance requesting for permission to be allowed to engage anybody who might have money and are interested to do certain roads,” he said.
“I want to have a feasibility study, so that I know the cost of roads. I’m saying let us have one or two people who are interested on a road to adopt it. Take for instance the road from Bulawayo to Nkayi, or Kwekwe-Nkayi-Lupane or Harare-Nyamapanda. There are people who are interested in repairing these roads. So I want them to come and do these roads. We can’t always be looking at Government to give us money. Let’s make use of the PPP arrangement and employ the tollgate system for repayments.”
Dr Gumbo said Government was concerned with the state of the country’s roads.
He said the Tsholotsho-Phelandaba Road needs urgent attention with locals saying it has become inaccessible.
“From the projections of the engineers we need something like $900 000 to make the road good but if we can’t get the money we will look for $400 000 to do spot gravelling to make the road trafficable,” he said.
Chief Siphoso from Tsholotsho’s Phelandaba area said because of the bad state of the road, buses were now shunning the area forcing locals to walk long distances to access transport.
He said Government should urgently rehabilitate the road as villagers were risking their lives walking long distances in the area which has a high population of lions and elephants due to its proximity to Hwange National Park.
Last year, the Ministry availed $600 000 for the rehabilitation of the same road but the money was only used to repair only a fraction of the road.