Nqobile Tshili, Chronicle Correspondent
THE Government will avail over $500 000 to each of the country’s 60 rural district councils to conduct road rehabilitation programmes, a Cabinet Minister has said.
Transport and Infrastructural Development Minister Dr Joram Gumbo revealed this during the Senate Question and Answer Session on Thursday.
The Minister said this after Senator Damien Mumvuri had quizzed him on how local authorities were accounting for funds allocated to them by the Zimbabwe National Road Administration (Zinara).
Dr Gumbo said the funds are allocated after proper calculations on the needs are done, but the challenge was that some local authorities seem to be in the dark on how to utilise the funds allocated to them.
“What we do at the beginning of the year is to ensure that a particular rural district council gets so much. For example and which is a reality, all rural district councils which are 60 in the nation, each council will be availed $500 000 and above,” said Dr Gumbo.
“We are aware of what will be taking place. We will have made adequate calculations. The challenge with rural district councils is that when they are availed funds, they do not know what to do or they know what to do but it seems like there are some obstacles or disagreements that happen.”
Dr Gumbo said the Ministry has also dealt with cases where local authorities divert allocated funds to pay salaries.
He said some local authorities have undertaken shoddy road works after engaging non-qualified staff.
The Minister said to address some of the challenges, Government has ordered local authorities without qualified engineers to take advantage of the ones employed by the Ministry.
“We told them that if they do not have engineers, they should use our provincial road engineers or those from DDF, because at the end of the day, all roads are the mandate of the Department of Transport. So at the end of the day what we want is for those branches to utilise money as stipulated,” he said. — @nqotshili