Government establishes fuel and equipment fund for rural roads rehabilitation

11 Feb, 2024 - 00:02 0 Views
Government establishes fuel and equipment fund for rural roads rehabilitation Minister Felix Mhona

The Sunday Mail

Business Reporter

THE Government, through the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development, has established a fuel and equipment fund to respond quicker to rural road infrastructure requiring urgent rehabilitation.

More than 22 000 kilometres of roads were rehabilitated last year under the Emergency Road Rehabilitation Programme, which saw the Government spending about $24 billion under the initiative. In 2022, 38 600km of road network

were rehabilitated against a target of 47 200km.

Speaking in Parliament last week, Transport and Infrastructural Development Minister Felix Mhona said: “This year, as a ministry, we have a fund to supply fuel and equipment so that our roads will be rehabilitated.”

The ministry will acquire the latest technology for road rehabilitation to address issues of land degradation and soil erosion.

“We want to look at emerging trends so that we will not have soil erosion; therefore, we are going to visit your constituencies and work with Members of Parliament,” he continued.

Last year, the ministry said it had embarked on nanoparticle technology research for rural gravel roads to maintain access to critical services during the rainy season.

Nanotechnology refers to the branch of science and engineering devoted to designing, producing and using structures, devices and systems by manipulating atoms and molecules at nanoscale, resulting in less porous roads that absorb less water than traditional gravel roads.

With nanoparticle technology, the minister said, it would take at least four to five years before the roads require attention again.

According to economist Mr Tinevimbo Shava, a reliable road network is a prerequisite for economic development in any country across the world.

He, however, acknowledged that the provision of all-weather transportation infrastructure in developing areas, using traditional designs, currently comes at a considerable cost.

“The construction of a low-volume two-lane road in rural and urban areas may vary from about US$500 000/km in more developed areas to US$1,2 million/km in rural areas, or even considerably more in remote areas as influenced by material, logistics and safety risks,” Mr Shava said.

Minister Mhona added: “Our roads are indeed in a sorry state, but I am asking for mercy from this (August) House and the nation of Zimbabwe at large.

“We cannot fix our roads in one day because of the rains. Our roads are in a bad state, but if we put together the resources that we have, you will see us coming and rehabilitating our roads.”

The minister said the Government would acquire the necessary equipment and technology to deliver on road rehabilitation and maintenance.

“This time, you will not find the snow graders, but you will find state-of-the-art graders. This year, these are the plans that we have. We want to buy graders for all the rural district councils; graders, and tippers. We also give you fuel so that you come here and report that you have rehabilitated your roads,” he said.

Since independence, it has been extremely difficult for the country to operate under the prevailing sanctions, and this differentiates Zimbabwe from other countries in the way roads are rehabilitated. In most countries, the money in Government coffers cannot rehabilitate roads without external funding.

“We also want to rehabilitate the Chirundu border. We are not stopping there; we are going to start from Harare going to Chirundu road, and in the next two months, we also want to rehabilitate the Nyamapanda Border Post (road). Those who are aware, we are also going to Mutare to refurbish the Forbes Border Post,” Minister Mhona said.

 

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