Inflation erodes Bulilima roads rehab funds

BY RICHARD MUPONDE

THE rehabilitation of Bulilima district’s two major roads scheduled for this year will likely take long as funds allocated for the project has been eroded by inflation and is not enough to buy material for the job, a legislator said on Friday last week.

Government had set aside a combined US$9 million for the roads Plumtree-Maitengwe and Plumtree-Ndolwane roads, respectively.

However, the money was changed to $9 million after government abolished the multi-currency system.

DDF is currently rehabilitating the district’s feeder roads and reopening the 20km stretch of Gonde-Masendu-Matiwaza Road.

Bulilima West legislator Dingimuzi Phuti (Zanu PF) yesterday said the two major roads were last refurbished in 1990s.

“The issue of Plumtree-Maitengwe and Plumtree-Ndolwane roads has been a worrisome issue to us. These roads had been given budgets for rehabilitation. These budgets were in the green bank then. However, with the introduction of local currency the money was eroded by inflation. I was talking to the Transport and Infrastructure Development ministry officials on Tuesday and I was advised that the money left can’t buy what is needed for the work on these two roads,” Phuti said.

He said their hopes lie with the supplementary budget by the Finance ministry so that work begins.

“Having a supplementary budget is one issue and the disbursement of funds another. We are hoping that the funds will be availed soon,” he said.

The legislator, however, said they find solace in that DDF has come on board to rehabilitate feeder roads in the district some which had become impassible.

“Right now, they are busy opening up Gonde-Masendu-Matiwaza Road which had been obliterated by villagers after turning it into fields due to years of neglect.

This work is progressing as I speak and work will be completed soon,” the legislator said.

DDF, the government department, which falls directly under the Office of the President, has also lined up many projects in the region that include construction of new bridges and roads as well as the rehabilitation of old ones.

Roads to be rehabilitated in Matabebeleland North and South provinces include the 300km stretch of the Karoi- Binga Road which would be tarred.

In Plumtree, DDF is constructing the Simukwe-Mabonyane and Mambale roads, Lutumba-Bulawayo Road in Beitbridge, Mtshingwe Road in Insiza and the Kezi Mbembeswana-Marinoha Hill Road in Kezi, among many other feeder roads.

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