Nqobile Tshili, Chronicle Reporter
THE Zimbabwe National Roads Administration (Zinara) disbursed more than $8 billion towards road Emergency Road Rehabilitation Programme (ERRP) 2 since the beginning of the year.
The road fund administrator on Wednesday said road authorities should expect more funds into the coming year. President Mnangagwa launched the ERRP 2 during the first quarter of 2021 saying a good road network is a vehicle towards an upper middle-income economy by 2030.
The ERRP 2 mandate was to rehabilitate roads that were damaged by the heavy rains in the 2020/21 rainy season. However, it is expected to be carried forward into 2022. In Bulawayo, 65 major roads were being earmarked for rehabilitation including Siyephambili Drive which had become un-traffickable.
It is now a marvel to drive along Siyephambili Drive among other roads in the city which have been rehabilitated. More roads are expected to be attended to in the coming year as 70 percent of the city’s road have outlived their lifespan.
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 $8 billion towards road rehabilitation. And it is evident that from the roadworks that are taking place in most parts of the country that the money that we disbursed under ERRP 2 was used for the purpose that it was disbursed for,” said Mr Mugabe.
“The recent increase in toll fees will obviously trigger intensified momentum in terms of road works that we are going to see.
The increase of disbursements to road authorities means we are going to see an increase in the scope of the number of kilometres that they are going to be rehabilitated in 2022.”
Zinara disburses funds to road authorities including local authorities, Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure Development and District Development Fund.
Bubi Rural District Council (RDC) chief executive officer Dr Patson Mlilo said since he joined local Government in 2005, he has never seen the level of road infrastructure development that was implemented this year.
“In the past years, we would have challenges in the financing of road maintenance but this year we were given all the money that was allocated to us. In the past you would get an allocation but you get to the year-end without disbursement of funds. But this year, we were given 100 percent allocation and in my case I was give $31 million. So, what we did as Bubi RDC we did bush clearance for all our roads and we employed around 600 people in the proces,” said Dr Mlilo.
He said council was also able to higher contractors to grade six major roads which made them traffickable. Dr Mlilo said even senior Government officials would come to the ground to asses the implementation of the projects.
“You would see the Permanent Secretary from the ministry coming down to see the road and that really was an exciting to see senior officials coming down to see a dust road. It made us to more because it made us want to impress and take advantage of the exercise. it showed that Government is serious about road rehabilitation. Ever since I joined council about 17 years ago, I had not seen the magnitude of road rehabilitation that we saw this year,” said Dr Mlilo.
He said improved road network should also improve the economic viability.
“Once you create roads and make the place accessible then investors will go to the area and take advantage of the opportunities that are in that area. Once, you have some good roads then you are rest assured that investors will be attracted to your area.
“So economically once you build the road infrastructure you are able to improve economic productivity because you have your local people who should take their produce to markets while suppliers will also frequent their areas,” he said.
Bulawayo Provincial Affairs and Devolution Minister Judith Ncube said the implementation of the ERRP 2 programmes 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 as in the reconstruction of some of the roads. We are happy that there some roads that have been reconstructed, talk of Siyephambili Drive, George Avenue, 23 Avenue and 8th Avenue among other roads. We hope that the responsible ministry can also address some of the challenges that affected the smooth implementation of the programme this year as we go into the coming year,” said Minister Ncube.
She said Government has been able to fulfil its promises to the public.
“What members of the public are seeking for implementation of Government programmes. They want action as opposed to rhetoric and I believe Government has been able to deliver that,” she said. – @nqotshili.
Article Source: The Chronicle