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More funds for road rehab

by Staff reporter
30 Aug 2021 at 04:48hrs | Views
Government is set to go onto the market for complementary funding to ensure simultaneous implementation of the Emergency Road Rehabilitation Programme 2 (ERRP2) and undertaking of new road development projects.  

ERRP2 is presently focusing on repairing damaged roads, routine maintenance and rehabilitation without supporting new development projects.  To date, $1,7 billion of the allocated $3,5 billion has been disbursed to road authorities including councils, the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development and the District Development Fund (DDF), among others.

To expand its scope, Government is now turning to the market to raise bonds for new developmental projects.  

This comes as systems and material supplies are being fine-tuned to expedite implementation of ERRP2 projects across the country ahead of the rainy season when projects are usually suspended or scaled down.  Interventions adopted include centralised procurement of premix amid indications that the Southern and Northern clusters have not yet utilised the bulk of their allocations of premix.  It also includes easing the procurement process for road authorities.

In his address during an assessment visit of road projects under ERRP2 in Kariba District, the Ministry of Local Government and Public Works Permanent Secretary, Mr Zvinechimwe Churu, said an investment indaba would soon be convened to raise funds.  

"Even with the budget that we have, we are not able to undertake all the road projects in Zimbabwe. With ERRP, we wanted to focus on emergency (road works) but we are realising that we can't be so sequential," he said.

"We must still undertake road developments while we are doing these emergency works."  To that end, a sub-committee headed by Zinara chief executive Mr Nkosinathi Ncube, has been set up to explore ways of raising additional funds.  

"We want to go to the market and we have done it before to raise bonds and so forth, to fund other road development projects. Expect an investment indaba very soon.  

"It may be virtual or face-to-face," said Mr Churu.

He said monitoring and evaluation of the works was key for the success of the ERRP2.  There have been challenges regards the availability of fuel, but engagements are underway with the National Oil Infrastructure Company of Zimbabwe (NOIC) to facilitate direct purchases of fuel using RTGS as most service stations are charging in US dollars. Turning to the performance of local authorities in implementing ERRP2 projects, Mr Churu said some councils, including Kariba were lagging behind.  

"We have seen impressive implementation of the programme in Nyaminyami Rural District Council where roads and bridges are being worked on.  

"However, Kariba is lagging behind and we wonder why they chose the complicated route to procure materials and engaging a contractor when the Procurement Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe has agreed to a smoother way.  

"They need to step up because these projects fit into the overall ideals of Vision 2030 and the National Development Strategy 1 (NDS1)," he said.

The Southern Region cluster was allocated 5 000 tonnes of premix but has only used 1 000 tonnes while the Northern region was allocated 7 000 tonnes but has used 850 tonnes.

Source - the herald
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