Mafume says ZINARA short-changing council on road maintenance funds

HARARE – Harare mayor Jacob Mafume has attributed the city’s poor state of roads to the Zimbabwe National Road Administration (ZINARA)’s failure to disburse enough funds to maintain the public infrastructure.

The city’s roads are riddled with potholes, something that has been worsened by the current rain season, rendering them difficult to navigate by motorists.

In a statement, Mafume said the transfer of the vehicle licensing portfolio to the controversial government entity thwarted the local authority’s efforts to take care of its road infrastructure.

“There is urgent need to repair, rehabilitate and expand the Harare roads network which has been severely affected by lack of programmed routine maintenance over a long period of time,” said Mafume.

“The establishment of the Zimbabwe Roads Administration Authority (ZINARA) led to the transfer of the vehicle licencing portfolio from local authorities to the statutory body.

“That is when the problems of failure to repair and maintain roads and the attendant infrastructure began and the results are visible on the ground for all to see.”

Mafume took issue with recent claims by ZINARA that the government body has played its part through transfer of road maintenance funds to the local authority.

“The article by ZINARA published in the Sunday Mail of 22 January 2023 cannot go unchallenged,” he said.

“Yes, they disbursed money to Road Authorities but how much did they collect throughout the 2022 fiscal year and what was it used for?

“We demand transparency and accountability in the utilisation of these public funds.”

Mafume added: “The Roads Act (Chapter 13:18) provides for the creation of Road Authorities responsible for maintenance of roads in their jurisdictions.

“City of Harare, as a Road Authority is responsible for the development and maintenance of roads within Harare.

“The same Act provides regulations for the funding of roads development and maintenance activities.”

He said the Act provides for creation of Roads Fund Authorities responsible for collection of road user fees and the distribution of the funds to Road Authorities.

The opposition politician said ZINARA was short-changing the city council through disbursement of inadequate funds far below what the under-fire government entity was collecting annually.

He described that as political sabotage.

“City of Harare has not received anything from fuel levy and carbon tax revenues in the past and this is another area where we are demanding our fair share of the national cake,” he said.

“The allocated budget for the roads rehabilitation for the City of Harare in 2022 was ZWL 958 million, and we received ZWL1,431 billion.

“If we are to be conservative enough and assume that Harare has 800 thousand registered vehicles, and the vehicle licence costs USD20 per quarter for most of the private vehicles, we could rack in USD 64 million annually and this could make a huge difference in our road rehabilitation programmes.

“The ZWL1,431 billion translates to USD2,13 million using the official rate as at 31 December 2022. This amount is not enough even to do 5km of road reconstruction.”

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