Harare (New Ziana) – Road authorities will this year share ZW$17 billion for road rehabilitation projects throughout the country, up from ZW$9.5 billion they received last year, the Zimbabwe National Road Administration (Zinara) said on Tuesday.
Zinara is a road fund manager that collects fees from tollgates, vehicle licenses and other road user charges for disbursement to road authorities in line with the Road Act (Chapter 13:18).
Road authorities that benefit include the Department of Roads under the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure Development, the District Development Fund, and the various Urban and Rural District Councils.
Zinara board chairman George Manyaya told the media that beneficiaries including the Harare City Council, would receive ZW$1.1billion, Bulawayo ZW$338 million, Mutare City Council ZW$163 million, and Masvingo City Council ZW$122 million for road projects this year.
“We have set a budget of ZW$17 billion for disbursements to provinces and major cities. Our projection is to start the disbursements possibly mid-March when we anticipate that the rains would have subsided. The allocations comprise disbursements made directly to rural and urban councils for works done through the Department of Roads and the DDF,” he said.
Zinara chief executive officer Nkosinathi Ncube added on, saying the authority had arranged with local banks to release funding in advance for disbursement to road authorities, which it would reimburse after collecting from its several income streams.
Ncube said Zinara was targeting to collect ZW$34 billion, of which ZW$17 billion would go towards road rehabilitation.
“The reality is there for us to see, we are not going to sugar coat it, the roads are bad. The money that is there is the money that we will share but in the long run, we will find new ways of getting more money,” he said.
“We disburse that which we have collected. We are aware of the state of the roads and if we wait to collect in November (for example), and say we will just be collecting and disbursing, the roads will be deteriorating so there are various approaches that have lined up to correct that.
“One approach that we want to implement immediately is where banks give us an advance and then we give those funds to the Road Authorities. For instance this year we will disburse ZW$17 billion so if we get a portion of that, say 25 percent and give it to the Road Authorities it will make our roads better. So those are the facilities we will work on in the short term then other ones that involve long term funding we will do those with the Ministry of Finance.”
Finance Director, Adam Zvandasara said Zinara was gearing for the start of phase 3 of the Emergency Road Rehabilitation Programme 2.
“The banks that we are working with will be giving us ZW$5 billion in advance against the ZW$17 billion. The idea being that they have an upfront payment, they (road authorities) can start work,” he said.
To ensure transparency, Zvandasara said road authorities would only receive new funding after accounting for the previous disbursement.
“We do not want to be pumping out money that we do not see a return on,” he said.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa declared all roads a state of national disaster on February 9 last year and shortly after, launched a second Emergency Road Rehabilitation Programme (ERRP II) which ran from March to December.
Its objectives were to improve the road network, which was extensively damaged during the rainy season, and to harness the potential of the transport system in promoting economic growth.