Harare road rehab project lags behind

HARARE City Council managed to rehabilitate only a tenth of the 130 km of road network it had targeted to fix this year.

The local authority relies on disbursements from the Zimbabwe National Roads Administration (Zinara) to finance road projects.

But presenting the City’s 2022 budget statement, the chairperson of the finance and development committee councillor Tichavona Mhetu said the lack of funding was delaying the road rehabilitation programme.

“This year we targeted to rehabilitate 130km, but we have only done 15km and we also targeted to maintain 400km, but we only managed 297km. This sector relies heavily on Zinara funds and we have received $198,9 million out of an allocation of $483 million which is still inadequate given the capital-intensive nature of the works,” Mhetu said.

“The poor performance of this programme is attributed to the late disbursement of funds and price variations caused by the distortions in the market. It must be acknowledged that the amount allocated is inadequate to carry out intended capital works. We always request more from Zinara, but Zinara has not responded positively.”

The total budget for 2022 is $41,873 billion with $1,250 billion of that being set aside for the roads programme.

“Key proposals to fund the road programme are revenue from City Parking, endowment fees, billboards, gravel sales, Harare Quarry dividend and trenching fees. Endowments and City Parking are statutory funds and as of 30 September, the City had received $158 million,” the statement read.

“These funds should be ring-fenced. The Emergency Road Rehabilitation Programme Phase 11 is taking care of major roads; there is an urgent need for the city to rehabilitate the roads in the residential areas which are in a sorry state. From 2022 onwards we expect regular updates on the utilisation of the aforementioned revenue streams in the roads programme.”

According to Mhetu, the 2021 budget was underperforming due to a lot of challenges that affected the council and this would affect the performance of the 2022 budget.

“2021 has been a difficult year, because of the unprecedented pressures from increased costs against declining revenues. The 2022 budget is prepared against a backdrop of continued uncertainties over the recovery of the global and domestic economies.”

“A plethora of issues ranging from inefficient internal systems, poor planning especially in project management, a structure which is not responsive to program-based budgeting and low revenue collection efficiencies. We have managed to collect $8.788 billion as of 31 October and are projecting to collect a further $2.610 billion.”