The Zimbabwe National Roads Administration (Zinara) has distributed nearly $6 billion to all provinces and local authorities for road maintenance in the first quarter of this year under the Emergency Road Rehabilitation Programme (ERRP).
The development comes after in February this year, Zinara said it was setting aside $17 billion for the ERRP.
The ERRP is in line with the ethos of the National Development Strategy 1 whose main aspirations include infrastructural development as a key enabler in attaining Vision 2030 of attaining an upper middle income economy.
Zinara does not do road work itself, but it is the collection authority for the two sources of revenue that must be spent on roads, the vehicle licence fees and the toll charges.
It disburses this money to the road authorities and then follows up to ensure that the money was spent on road works.
In a statement, Zinara confirmed that it had so far distributed a total of $5 813 681 689,42.
Of the over $5,8 billion, Harare has since been allocated over $1,4 billion, Bulawayo $107 million, Manicaland $664,3 million, Mashonaland Central $155,4 million, Mashonaland East $634,2 million, Mashonaland West $599,4 million, Masvingo $625,8 million, Matabeleland North $452 million, Matabeleland South $267,5 million while Midlands was allocated $582,9 million.
In total countrywide, the Department of Roads was allocated over $4,1 billion, the District Development Fund $320 million, Urban Councils $772 million, while Rural District Councils had over $579 million.
Commenting on the latest disbursements by Zinara, Transport and Infrastructural Development Minister Felix Mhona said roads were the heartbeat of development in any jurisdiction and that roads and roadworks helped to reduce poverty through trade facilitation and employment creation.
“It is unfortunate that our road infrastructure is in a bad state and now requires extensive attention,” he said.
“Through his wise counsel, His Excellency, the President, Cde, Dr ED Mnangagwa in 2021 declared a state of national disaster on all the roads by promulgating SI 47 of 2021 based on Section 27(2) of the Civil Protection Act [Chapter 10:06] as read with the Roads Act.
“The promulgation set us on an accelerated drive to raise funds under the Emergency Road Rehabilitation Programme (ERRP2) through Zinara to enable the mobilisation of resources required to manage road maintenance and rehabilitation.
“Section 7 of SI 47 of 2021, specifically empowered me to authorise Zinara to source funding on the market in advance in lieu of the revenues that are yet to be allocated by Treasury in terms of Section 9 of the Roads Act [Chapter 13:18].
“This enabled Zinara to legally raise the money and also to give comfort and protection to all investors under the ERRP2.”
Minister Mhona said the declaration enabled Government to come up with a national restoration plan to realign all the resources with the view to operationalise the emergency road rehabilitation plan, including devolution funds.
He said this was coupled with the traditional resource mobilisation strategies such as tolling and vehicle licensing.
“It is not a secret that most of our roads were not attended to in the past seven years and I want to thank the Second Republic for making sure that no one or place is left behind in terms of infrastructure development under the New Dispensation,” said Minister Mhona.
“Under ERRP2, the Department of Roads has taken over major roads in Urban Local Authorities to expedite the maintenance and repair works, with Provincial Road Engineers superintending over all roads within their respective provinces.
“As a ministry, we have a mandate to meet targets set for us in the National Development Strategy 1 (NDS1) which feeds into Vision 2030 as enunciated by His Excellency, the President, Cde, Dr ED Mnangagwa.”
Minister Mhona applauded Zinara’s efforts in making sure that disbursements were done timeously.
“I must say that the alignment of Zinara to its mandate is now bearing fruit,” he said. “Going into 2022, Government through Zinara is going to expedite funding to all the road authorities to ensure that much ground is covered in terms of road rehabilitation.
“As ERRP2 enters home stretch, I am pleased to share with all Zimbabweans a progress update on works covered in 2021 under ERRP2.”
Zinara chief executive Mr Nkosinathi Ncube said Government, under the stewardship of President Mnangagwa, set a massive life-changing target of transforming Zimbabwe into an upper middle income economy by 2030.
“This is anchored on the clear roadmap and economic blueprints as articulated in the National Development Strategy 1 (NDS1),” he said.
“In this praxis, the Zimbabwe National Roads Administration is strategically positioned to champion infrastructure revolution which is a key enabler towards the realisation of Vision 2030.
“As a road fund administrator, our work was cut out following the declaration of the Emergency Road Rehabilitation Programme 2 (ERRP2) in 2021. This facilitated an opportunity for us to go and collect revenue and at the same time source fresh funding on the market for road rehabilitation and maintenance.”
Mr Ncube said in line with their mandate, which is to disburse funding, in 2021 together with Treasury Zinara disbursed $9,5 billion to all the road authorities, which saw the intensification of road works countrywide.
“This year we have set a new high for ourselves as an institution and our target for 2022 is to disburse $17 billion,” he said. “Pursuant to this, more than $5 billion has already been disbursed in the first quarter of 2022 to all the road authorities across the country to commence road works.
“Let me take this opportunity to reiterate that transparency and integrity are the hallmark of our operations as the new Zinara that we are building.
“The new board of directors and the executive are striving to build an institution that is founded and grounded on good corporate governance and best corporate practices.
“We are cognisant of the legacy issues that affected our brand and reputation in the past few years where a significant share of the populace lost confidence in Zinara’s operations.”
Mr Ncube assured the nation that they will handle the public funds with probity.
“Under the guidance of our Honourable Minister FT Mhona, and our parent Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development, our resolve is to ensure that our contribution towards Vision 2030 is beyond any question,” he said.
Mr Ncube said Zinara was in the process of upgrading their ICT systems to reduce manual transactions which were usually associated with all sorts of leakages.
He said Zinara was also fostering in a new operational culture as part of rebranding and transforming the agency into a professional entity.