$130bn earmarked for massive roadworks

15 Jan, 2023 - 00:01 0 Views
$130bn earmarked for massive roadworks

The Sunday Mail

Emmanuel Kafe

ZIMBABWE will double down on road development projects this year, with Treasury and the Zimbabwe National Roads Administration (ZINARA) injecting over $130 billion to rehabilitate about 10 000 kilometres under the second phase of the Emergency Road Rehabilitation Programme (ERRP 2).

Treasury has budgeted $44 billion for ERRP2, while ZINARA has set aside $90 billion to complement the programme and fund the country’s four road authorities — urban local authorities, rural district councils, the District Development Fund (DDF) and the Department of Roads.

Transport and Infrastructural Development acting Permanent Secretary Ms Loveness Masuka-Dumwa told The Sunday Mail that the road maintenance plan for this year follows the blueprint initially laid out at the inception of ERRP2.

“As you may know, His Excellency, the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe, through the promulgation of Statutory Instrument 47 of 2021, declared a State of Disaster on all of the country’s roads from January 2021 through December 2023. In response, Government launched the ERRP 2, which is running through the disaster period,” she said.

“That said, the road maintenance plan for 2023 follows the plan initially laid out at the inception of the ERRP 2. Roadworks that were a work in progress at the turn of the year will continue and new projects will be embarked on in line with budgetary provisions and provincial priorities as set at that level of Government, in line with the devolution agenda. The target is to have road maintenance and rehabilitation interventions along at least 10 000 kilometres countrywide.”

Under ERRP 2, Ms Masuka-Dumwa said, road maintenance and rehabilitation activities around the country are being coordinated at national level.

This is meant to ensure that the concerted efforts of the country’s four road authorities “redress damages to the road infrastructure network”.

Almost 600km of the country’s major highways will be rehabilitated this year, with at least 24 trunk roads being targeted.

Roads that will be worked on include Harare-Masvingo-Beitbridge, where significant progress has been recorded so far; Harare-Chirundu; Harare-Kanyemba; Chivhu-Gutu-Chiredzi; Golden Valley-Sanyati; Alaska-Copper Queen; and Kadoma-Chakari-Sanyati-Nembudziya.

Plumtree-Mphoengs; lumtree-Madlambuzi; Gwanda-Maphisa; Bulawayo-Nkayi; Bulawayo-Tsholotsho; Bulawayo-Khami; and Mutare-Masvingo roads will also be attended to.

Other trunk roads that will get a facelift are Nyanga-Ruwangwe; Murambinda-Birchenough; Odzi-Marange-Masasa; Cashel-Chimanimani; Eastern Border Road; Ruya Junction-Mukumbura; Gweru-Lower Gweru; and Mberengwa-Mataga.

Ms Masuka-Dumwa said the $44 billion from Treasury will not adequately cover all the ministry’s plans under ERRP 2 but they expect to get more funding during the course of the year.

“The ministry’s requirements in terms of funding to complete its outstanding major road construction works are huge sums of money and cannot be quantified at the moment. However, what we have been allocated this financial year is $44,4 billion,” she said.

“As laid out in the ERRP 2, the requirement to complete the planned road rehabilitation and maintenance works for the 2023 financial year is $80 billion. However, this requirement may increase when we factor in outstanding obligations for work done in 2022. Obviously, the available budget is lower than this requirement, but we are optimistic that Government will prioritise the road maintenance programme when reviewing its budget mid-term.”

ZINARA spokesperson Mr Tendai Mugabe said the authority had set a revenue target of $103,7 billion this year.

“In 2023, we have set a budget of $93,9 billion for disbursements for road-related works, including toll infrastructure and road authorities’ capacitation. From all the revenue streams that we have as ZINARA, we are targeting to collect close to $103,7 billion from road users through road fees,” he said.

Overall, Treasury, through the 2023 Zimbabwe Infrastructure Investment Programme, has made a provision of $194,8 billion for interventions such as construction, upgrading and rehabilitation in the road sector.

The Harare-Masvingo-Beitbridge highway, which is a critical component of the North-South Corridor, will receive special attention to ensure its completion this year.

Rural feeder roads will also be prioritised.

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