BY SILAS NKALA
BULAWAYO City Council was this year allocated $157 million by the Zimbabwe National Road Administration (Zinara) in the 2021 budget for the rehabilitation of roads, but has only received a paltry $15 million for the first quarter.
Approximately US$700 million is required to rehabilitate the city’s road network, council disclosed last week after residents petitioned it over the poor state of roads.
Town clerk Christopher Dube said the 2021 allocation for the city was $157 million of which on February 3, it received $15 436 055 for the first quarter for routine road maintenance.
“The funds will produce approximately 400 tonnes of premix which will be utilised within six to seven weeks,” Dube said.
“The disbursements are quarterly for routine maintenance while for periodic maintenance such as overlay, reconstruction works are paid after the work has been carried out.
“The last disbursement in 2020 was $10 376 002 made on October 6, 2020 and was exhausted before the end of December 2020. The funds were used for procurement of pothole patching and premix overlay materials.”
Dube said pothole patching would continue until major rehabilitation works were carried out. He said more than 75% of the road network has outlived its lifespan.
“Approximately US$700 million is required to bring the network to good condition. To increase roads to good or better condition by 15% (360km) in the next five years, a minimum investment of US$15 million per annum is required,” Dube said.
“The main source of funding for road infrastructure has traditionally been government allocation through Zinara and revenue accruing to council. Year-on-year, budget allocations have compared unfavourably with funding considered adequate to maintain the road network.
“As a result, the road network has deteriorated due to the gap between maintenance requirements and funding.”
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