DEBATE over the use of funds from vehicle licensing administered by the Zimbabwe National Roads Administration (Zinara) has reached fever-pitch following a public spat between Harare mayor, Bernard Manyenyeni and Local Government minister Saviour Kasukuwere.
BY PAIDAMOYO MUZULU
Kasukuwere and Manyenyeni clashed on social media last week over the state of roads in the capital.
An independent roads engineer, Bernard Musarurwa, has leapt to Manyenyeni’s defence and called for re-examination of the administration of the Road Fund, which Zinara is in charge of and disburses as it sees fit.
Like most of the country’s roads, Harare’s streets are littered with potholes and most are overdue for reconstruction.
Musarurwa said the whole set-up should be relooked at and the Transport ministry should regain its active role in roads development.
“The Transport ministry must take charge and make Zinara revert to the role it was originally created for, that of administering the Road Fund and disbursing the funds accrued from the bona fide road user charges (fuel levy, vehicle licence fees, tollgate fees, etc) to the designated road authorities for the routine and periodic maintenance of the national road networks,” he said.
Musarurwa’s sentiments are shared by Manyenyeni.
“The residents have high expectations of the council, but they do not realise that we no longer have direct resources from vehicle licence fees that should be used for road maintenance,” Manyenyeni explained.
“Zinara is now in charge, but we are always given inadequate resources by the administration.”
Zinara spokesman, Augustine Moyo requested for questions in writing, but had not responded at the time of going to print.
Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa, in his mid-term fiscal policy statement last year, said Zinara was spending more on recurrent expenditure than on capital projects.
“The proportion of staff and other fixed costs, at 35% of expenditure, is too high and constrains the Road Fund to meaningfully provide resources for the maintenance of the 88 200km road network in the country.
“It is, therefore, critical that the cost structure of the fund is re-examined with a view to creating additional space for support towards road construction and maintenance programmes,” Chinamasa told Parliamentin September.