Govt requires $700 billion for roads rehab

GOVERNMENT has revealed that it requires over ZWL$700 billion in funds from the Treasury to complete its outstanding major road construction and rehabilitation countrywide.

Speaking to journalists, Thursday on the sidelines of an annual strategic planning meeting held in Bulawayo, Transport minister Felix Mhona said there was a need for innovative and progressive ways of boosting the Treasury’s financial base, to be able to fund various government projects.

“The ministry requires over $700 billion to fund the operations of the ministry. However, whenever one is doing a budget there is a resource and what can be afforded just like in any household set up and as a ministry we got $125 billion as a resource and what can be accommodated.

“To be honest, we cannot do everything at once, so we are stuck because our wish list contradicts what is available. What we have in the pot determines what we get as a ministry, that is why we are calling on innovation and progressive ways of supporting the Treasury,” he said.

The minister highlighted that financial challenges coupled with rains have proved a major setback for the road rehabilitation exercise.

“I note the progress on projects such as the Harare-Masvingo-Beitbridge Road. Despite the delays caused by the heavy rains during the first quarter of the year and financial flow challenges being experienced across the economy, we have managed to maintain progress on this project. By the end of October 2022, we completed 350km of that road.

“Linking this road is the Beitbridge Border Post, which has been upgraded and modernised under a Public Private Partnership with the Zim Borders Consortium. The aim of the project was to improve border efficiency. With the completion of the project, the turnaround time at the border has improved to below three hours from an average of 20 hours,” Mhona said.

He added that the ministry has so far managed to rehabilitate 13 109km of the roads across the country.

Turning the struggling parastatal the National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ), Mhona said, government was working on the recapitalization programme.

“Government is pursuing recapitalisation of NRZ in partnership with External Investors and International financial institutions, with the view to boost the carrying capacity of NRZ to support its operations. We have procured seven locomotives and wagons.”

“Government is moving towards development of a digitalised Drivers’ Licence, which is housed at the Central Vehicle Registry. This is now at an advanced stage and also being monitored under the Tripartite Transport and Transit Facilitation Programme (TTTFP).

“Other modules or programmes under ZIMTIS include the computerisation of the Driver Learner Licence, computerisation of vehicle testing, driver scheduling under RMT. These modules are currently being rolled out and progressing well,” Mhona said.

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