Leonard Ncube , Victoria Falls Reporter
GOVERNMENT will seek to leverage on the ongoing Emergency Road Rehabilitation Programme (ERRP) Phase 2 programme to push for construction of formal vendors’ markets along highways, a Cabinet Minister has said.
Recently, President Mnangagwa launched a US$400 million ERRP2, which is a countrywide initiative premised on roads being networks that promote social and economic activities by ensuring a smooth flow of goods and services.
Under ERRP2, about 840 kilometres of roads around the country will be rehabilitated and reconstructed, while 8 340km will be re-gravelled and 17 093km set to be regraded this year.
Women’s Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Minister Sithembiso Nyoni told Business Chronicle that the rehabilitation of road network was a development opportunity especially for SMEs in rural and urban areas to link up with markets.
In this context, she said her ministry was considering the idea of pushing to have physical vending stalls along the country’s major roads.
“A road is an economy because once you have a road people then venture into various kinds of businesses. A road is not just for motorists or rich people, it is also for the ordinary people as well and as the Ministry of SMEs, we now want to have markets built along each highway for people to sell their wares,” she said.
At the present, individuals stand by the roadside, especially on highways, to sell products such as farm and horticultural produce like vegetables, sweet reeds, water melons, pumpkins, cattle melons, and fruits, among others.
Minister Nyoni said such SMEs’ initiatives can grow the economy and improve livelihoods if the people are capacitated.
“A road attracts other economic activities. As for Nkayi, people are good in basketry but they have no market because there is no good road linking the district to other areas,” she said.
The ERRP2 has created jobs and also eased the burden of residents face when transporting goods.
So far 318km of road network has been rehabilitated countrywide, while 10 946km has been re-gravelled, 11 529km graded and potholes covering 7 156km also patched.
Minister Nyoni said such clean trafficable roads can be used as a launch-pad for uplifting communities, in line with the country’s vision which seeks to achieve an upper middle-income economy by 2030. – @ncubeleon