The Sunday News
Emmanuel Kafe recently in Mberengwa
GOVERNMENT is determined to push ahead with road construction works despite being bogged down by fuel supply bottlenecks and equipment breakdowns.
The Central Mechanical Engineering Department (CMED) — a logistics entity that falls under the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure Development has since been ordered to supply fuel and road equipment to local authorities to help speed up road infrastructure projects.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s administration believes that trafficable and a well-developed road network will help drive the country to prosperity. Speaking during a tour of roads in the Midlands province last week, Transport and Infrastructure Development Minister Joel Biggie Matiza said Government will progressively and programmatically resource CMED so that it can supply local authorities with road equipment and logistical support.
“We need to resource ourselves. Yes, the money is not enough, but it’s not a one-day event, but a continuous event where we will then want to source equipment. We want CMED to be equipped so that it can be the major supplier of equipment to road authorities and also to the Department of Roads; that is work in progress. Just like Zinara (Zimbabwe National Road Administration), it is also very central to the activities of road rehabilitation and building new roads. Now, we will be having fuel being delivered to provinces where roads are being built through CMED,” he said.
Government has budgeted more than $900 million to spruce up and construct new roads through the 2019 Infrastructure Investment Plan. Through the elaborate programme, the Department of Roads will rehabilitate or upgrade at least five trunk roads from gravel to bituminous surfacing in every province, while respective District Development Funds are targeting to gravel and regrade at least three feeder roads per province.
Similarly, urban and rural local authorities are up-scaling the road rehabilitation exercise for roads under their purview. Treasury has since extended $34 million to the Midlands province. Midlands province roads engineer Mr Dennis Mapfurira said they want to rehabilitate 32 kilometres this year.
Work is currently underway on the 100-kilometre Mberengwa-West Nicholson Road and Mberengwa-Mataga Road. Most local authorities have not been accessing additional funds from Zinara as they are failing to account for previous disbursements. He urged local authorities to do their work programmes and acquittals on time to ensure the timeous disbursement of funds.