THERE will be no immediate relief to the poor in the $100 million emergency road repairs and refurbishment programme as roads used by VVIPs will get priority, a Transport Ministry report has shown.
by PAIDAMOYO MUZULU
The country’s deplorable roads condition has worsened after the country was swept by tropical Cyclone Dineo.
Transport Minister Joram Gumbo in a recent government report said his ministry — in partnership with Treasury — had raised resources for emergency road repairs, but these would start with highways frequently used by VVIPs.
“Work started on road repairs in Harare in February, commencing with repairs to some strategic VVIP routes around the city, as some of you might have seen,” he said.
Gumbo added the project will cascade to high-density suburbs as it progresses.
“This work will continue with roads in the central business district, low and high density suburbs being next in line. City engineers are part of the technical subcommittee that has compiled the road emergency programme,” Gumbo added.
Repairs have begun on roads such as the Joshua Nkomo Road leading to the Harare International Airport frequented by President Robert Mugabe and Borrowdale Road leading to his private home in the leafy suburb.
The capital Harare and Bulawayo will get the lion’s share of the $26,4 million set aside for the project targeting local authorities.
“Government intends to raise $100 million for the road emergency rehabilitation programme, through Zimbabwe National Road Administration (Zinara) bond. This money would be distributed as follows; urban councils $26,4 million, $10,2 million being for City of Harare and $4,1 million for the City of Bulawayo,” the report said.
The remaining 13 urban councils will have to share a measly $12,1 million.
Meanwhile, the minister also announced that the long-awaited dualisation of Beitbridge-Chirundu would commence in the second week of April.
“The ground-breaking ceremony will be held during the first or second week of April 2017, after which construction will commence,” he announced.
Gumbo said the main contractors were now in the country and financial arrangements with the Japanese and Chinese for the project have been concluded.
“For the Harare-Chirundu road, the section to be funded by the Japanese grant has now been finalised, and so contract documentation with China Harbour Engineering Company will now be finalised,” he said.