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  • Writer's pictureInfrastructure Exchange

$1.2 billion financing model created in Zimbabwe

The Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development, Architect Joel Biggie Matiza, has praised the co-operation between the Government and Zinara, saying it has given rise to the construction of many nationally strategic roads.

This following the announcement of a $1.2 billion financing model that has been created between the Zimbabwe National Road Authority and the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development, will see several roads across the country being constructed or rehabilitated as part of Government’s infrastructure investment plan for the current financial year.

Here in Mashonaland Central, the Mukumbura and Kanyemba roads are very strategic and their completion will help not only in the economic gains for the province but have a bearing on national economic interests. The Kanyemba road, for instance, will create an easy access into Zambia, the DRC and further up-field into East Africa. On the other hand, the Mukumbura highway will afford the easy access of people and goods into Mozambique, a country which we have shared a common history with for a long time.”

Engineer Mike Madanha, chairman of the Zinara board, stated “there are challenges in meeting road construction and maintenance, with proper co-ordination and co-operation between the local authorities and the national road authority these challenges were surmountable. There are a number of challenges arising at present, one being the fuel supply situation, which affects ongoing construction and maintenance works and other being the interbank rate, which has largely changed since when most quotations were made, forcing contractors to adjust their schedules and commitments.”

Jointly funded by the Government and Zinara, the initial $300 million outlay will see the rehabilitation and partial dualisation of the highway. Along the same highway, a $20 million budget will see to the construction of a traffic interchange at Mbudzi round-about.

Technical director for the national road authority, Engineer Wishes Mauwa “We understand the national interest that is in this road, given that Beitbridge offers the gateway into a number of our neighbours and the pace with which the works are ongoing can only emphasise the importance that Zinara and the implementing partner, that is the Department of Roads, has placed on such projects - another highway is being done in a phased approach and as Zinara we have committed $250 million towards this project, with Government committing another $50 million.”

“These road projects are all over the country and we might spend the whole day talking about each and every project. What must not be lost on road users, those who want to know what is happening to the money they are paying at toll gates, vehicle licence fees, axle overload charges, is that our charges are now way below market values. Furthermore, we are still charging $2 for a single toll gate entry, which is not only uneconomic and but also depriving us of the necessary revenue to meet and match our expectations of road construction and rehabilitation.

“You will find that some transporters, especially in-transit vehicles, find it cheaper to pay for axle overloads here in Zimbabwe than to move their goods with two vehicles because our charges are no longer punitive.”

To this end, Zinara has applied to its parent ministry to have the service charges reviewed, and the application is under consideration by Cabinet, to raise these to match prevailing economic fundamentals.

“Whilst we want to have fees and charges raised, we are not saying they should be sympathetic to the inter-bank rate. What we are saying is that our charges should be pegged at values that make economic sense to us as an entity as much as they should leave motorists paying commensurately for services that they need. On the other hand, the inter-bank rate has been revised and this has affected some of the contracts that were entered into when the exchange rate was 1:1. Where a contractor would have charged, say a million dollars, that contractor is either forced to stop work or revise the charge, greatly impacting on the targets that we would have set.”

Over and above these challenges, Eng Mauwa said the fuel challenges have also affected ongoing road projects and some might have to revise their completion targets.

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