The Zimbabwe National Road Authority (Zinara) has set aside ZWL$ 17 billion towards road rehabilitation which will be disbursed to 93 road authorities across the country starting in the next two weeks.
The authority has set a collection target of ZWL$ 34 billion from road users through road fees.
This year’s budget allocation is a 79 percent increase from last year’s allocation of ZWL$ 9.5 billion.
Addressing the press in Harare this morning, ZINARA board Dr George Manyaya said the authority was not responsible for the construction of new roads but it merely collected funds and disburse them to road authorities for maintenance of existing road infrastructure.
Construction of new roads is done by the government through the Ministry of Transport.
“Zinara is ready to disburse ZWL$ 17 billion in the next two weeks for road rehabilitation and it’s now up to the road authorities,” said Manyaya.
“We are not responsible for who the local authorities contract but our main issue is to urge them to do quality work.”
For 2022, the Department of Roads headquarters will get ZWL$ 6.3 billion, DDF HQ ZWL$ 4.5 billion, Harare City Council ZWL$ 1.1 billion, Bulawayo City Council ZWL$ 338.2 million, Gweru City Council ZWL$ 193.2 million, Mutare Urban Council ZWL$ 163.5 million, Masvingo city council ZWL$ 122 million, Mash East ZWL$ 519.7 million, Mash West ZWL$ 741.5 million, Midlands ZWL$ 661.4 million, Masvingo province ZWL$ 361.2 million , Mat.Noth ZWL$ 524.6 million and Mat South ZWL 495.1 million.
Critics are however pessimistic that the the allocations will bring an immediate impact on the dire state of the country’s roads which have been neglected for decades.
However, the authority says it is in negotiations with potential financiers to boost its resources.
“Zinara is in talks with local banks that want to increase our budget and be able to give us facilities,” said Manyaya.
He said the authority has also taken measures to consolidate revenue inflows by installing closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras at all traffic toll gates across the country.
Once the ZWL$ 17 billion disbursements are done from of the ZWL$ 34 billion collection target, Zinara will then channel the remainder towards payment of the US$ 206 million loan from DBSA that was used to construct the Plumtree-Mutare highway.
ZINARA has in the past been accused of gross mismanagement of funds, a tag the new board led by Manyaya is vowing to smarten.
Despite the authority collecting substantial fees, there has been neglect of road maintenance over the years which have rendered the country’s road unsafe.
Government allocated ZWL$ 43.9 billion towards roads development program from fiscal resources with ZWL$ 20 billion earmarked for the Harare-Beitbridge road.
Under government’s Emergency Road Rehabilitation Program, local authorities are expected to focus on routine maintenance and re-gravelling.