HomeLocal NewsBiti paints gloomy roads, dams picture

Biti paints gloomy roads, dams picture


Finance minister Tendai Biti has bemoaned the poor state of the country’s public infrastructure, especially dams and roads, and said as long as the country’s economy and international creditworthiness remained in the negative, efforts to rebuild the infrastructure would remain a pipe-dream.

Addressing Senate during debate on the Finance Bill last week, Biti said Zimbabwe’s agricultural sector would remain largely subsistent as long as there was no money to build more dams.
“The state of our dams is such that 25% of rain water is retained and the rest goes back to the Indian Ocean and yet we need water for irrigation,” said Biti. “Agriculture has to be a 365-day business, but it will not be unless we build dams and so we need money and capital to do that.”
Biti said it was difficult to get the required capital because the country was heavily indebted and was failing to service its international debts.
“We owe $10,1 billion external debt of which $3 billion are arrears to the Paris Club, $1,2 billion are arrears to the World Bank and $500 million are arrears to the African Development Bank. We have adopted a programme called ZADDS (Zimbabwe Accelerated Debt and Development Strategy) which is a method of trying to deal with our debt arrears by showing macro-economic consistency which is what we have tried to do in the past three years and then persuading donors to cancel and forgive that debt,” he said.
Biti also told senators that most of the country’s roads had outlived their lifespan and were in a state of disrepair due to lack of funding. “Our roads are a shame. The country has got a road network of 88 000km and yet only 15% of that is paved but even that 15% that is paved it is collapsing,” he said.

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