Matabeleland region gets $789,6 million for road projects
Sukulwenkosi Dube-Matutu and Leonard Ncube
THE Zimbabwe National Road Administration (Zinara) has disbursed $789,6 million towards road development projects in Matabeleland provinces in the first four months of this year out of a combined total allocation of $3,2 billion for the region this year.
A total of $41 billion has been allocated to various roads authorities for the maintenance of roads infrastructure countrywide, with over $11 billion disbursed between January and last month.
The funds were allocated to rural and urban local authorities, the Department of Roads, and the Rural Infrastructure Development Agency (Rida), formerly the District Development Fund.
According to a schedule published by Zinara yesterday, Bulawayo Metropolitan Province, which was allocated $817 million has so far received $163 million.
Matabeleland North province, which has an allocation of $899 million for the seven rural local authorities namely Binga, Bubi, Hwange, Kusile, Nkayi, Tsholotsho, and Umguza, has $224 million disbursed in the first quarter.
Urban local authorities in the province comprise Hwange Local Board, which got $22 million against its allocation of $112 million, Lupane Local Board, which has received $18 million against an allocation of $94 million and Victoria Falls City, which was allocated $161 million and has received $57 million.
The province was allocated a total of $1, 2 billion for both urban and rural local authorities.
Midlands was allocated a total of $2 billion both for urban and rural councils and $574 million has been disbursed.
Matabeleland South has received $303 million from the $1,1 billion allocated to the province for the first quarter. Beitbridge Rural District Council received $21,5 million, Bulilima $21,5 million, Gwanda Rural District Council $23,5 million, Insiza $24,2 million, Mangwe $23 million, Matobo $21,4 million, Umzingwane $23,6 million, Beitbridge Town Council $56 million, while Gwanda Municipality and Plumtree Town Council have received $52 million each.
The Department of Roads was allocated over $15 billion, and so far close to $3 billion has been disbursed while Rida got more than $3 million from the $10 billion it was allocated.
Each local authority was allocated its own share. Zinara said the disbursements were for the period January 2, 2023 to April 30, 2023 and exclude those made through Rida and Department of Roads and administration expenses.
The Government last year declared the state of roads infrastructure in the country an emergency following heavy rains and has been rehabilitating the road infrastructure through the Emergency Road Rehabilitation Programme (ERRP2) that is set to be succeeded by the Road Development Programme that aims at developing the country’s roads to meet world-class standards in line with Vision 2030.
The Government has said it is happy with the work that is being done under the ERRP2 and has urged Zinara to prioritise funding of some roads under the same programme.
Matabeleland North Provincial Affairs and Devolution Minister Richard Moyo said the state of roads network in the province was deplorable and needs urgent attention.
Already, most parts of Bulawayo-Victoria Falls Road is littered with potholed and hardly trafficable.
“All our roads are in a bad state and need the Treasury and Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure Development to pull together,” said Minister Moyo.
“Victoria Falls Road is our pillar and all our economic activities are hinged on it but it is in a bad state. We have Bulawayo-Nkayi, Bulawayo-Tsholotsho roads as well as several feeder roads, which all need resurfacing or grading because we had incessant rains that damaged the network.”
The minister said the roads must be fixed now before the start of election campaign activities to allow politicians to reach every part of the country.
His Matabeleland South Counterpart Cde Abedinico Ncube said efforts being made by the Government to fund road maintenance works in the province were commendable. He said more still needs to be done as the road network needed urgent attention.
“Government under Second Republic has made significant efforts to improve the province’s road network. For example, we have the dualisation of the Beitbridge- Harare Road, which will benefit the province in a great way and usher in a lot of economic development,” he said.
“There is also tarring of the Gwanda- Maphisa Road, which is underway. Councils and other road authorities are also continuously maintaining roads using funds, which they are getting from Government. In addition to this we want various stakeholders to come in and also assist in improving our road network. Some of our areas in the province are not accessible due to poor state of roads and some areas are shunned by service providers,” he said.
Cde Ncube said the province’s state of roads was key to economic development and urged local authorities to ensure that funds received from Zinara are channelled towards road works. He also urged councils to prioritise roads that need urgent attention.