The Zimbabwe National Roads Administration (ZINARA) today held a press conference where it announced that it was undergoing a rebrand and will be allocating ZWL$17 billion towards road rehabilitation.
The breakdown of the 2022 allocation is as follows:
|ROAD AUTHORITY||ALLOCATION (ZWL$)|
|DEPARTMENT OF ROADS HQ||6 337 065 357|
|DISTRICT DEVELOPMENT FUND HQ||4 527 047 879|
|HARARE City Council||1 116 288 970|
|BULAWAYO City Council||338 232 414|
|GWERU Urban Council||196 249 227|
|MUTARE Urban Council||163 540 928|
|MASVINGO City Council||122 170 765|
|MASHONALAND EAST||519 666 261|
|MASHONALAND CENTRAL||451 591 400|
|MANICALAND||444 246 412|
|MASHONALAND WEST||741 452 947|
|MASVINGO PROVINCE||361 246 588|
|MIDLANDS||661 434 426|
|MATABELELAND NORTH||524 610 864|
|MATABELELAND SOUTH||495 155 562|
|TOTAL ALLOCATION||17 000 000 000|
So… what’s new?
Well, not much… but also quite a bit, let me explain. To the former, there is nothing new in our teapot shaped country when it comes to our roads. For the longest time, dodging potholes has become commonplace, that’s if you aren’t making way for Mshikashikas who create their own lanes…
However, (and to the latter) it was refreshing to hear the ZINARA executive make the honest admission that the roads are very very poor. ZINARA’s new Chairman Dr George Manyaya said that they want to be as transparent as possible. He went on to say that their mandate is to disburse funds to the local authorities so they can rehabilitate/construct roads.
“The Zimbabwe National Road Administration (ZINARA) is a corporate body that was established in terms of the Road Act (Chapter 13:18). The body was established in 2002 in line with Government’s commitment to prioritize the enhancement of a good road network system throughout the country. The mandate of ZINARA is to fix, collect, disburse road user charges and mobilize revenue for roads development and maintenance.”ZINARA
ZINARA also assists the Minister for Transport and Infrastructure in setting maintenance, design, construction and technical standards and monitoring compliance to those benchmarks by road authorities. Additionally, the organization also performs any other function that may be in the Road Administration in terms of the Roads Act (13:18) or any other legislation.
Do the funds allocated even make a dent in addressing the appaling state of the roads?
Now, the argument will be “are the funds enough?” and you’d be quite right in asking that because if these amounts being given to local authorities are sufficient, why aren’t we seeing some improvements?
Well… it’s mainly down to the amount of money that ZINARA gets from its collections from toll gates, vehicle licencing etc. Those funds are split between repaying loans that the government agency has with external bodies like the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA), allocations to local authorities as well as ZINARA’s operations.
All of these factors limit how much ZINARA can issue out to local authorities and organisations like the District Development Fund (DDF). In light of this shortfall, ZINARA’s new chairman Dr George Manyaya said that the authority has engaged banks to assist by way of financing to make up for the deficiencies. What has come from those conversations is yet to be known but we were told we should be hearing something soon…
What of the local authorities?
As mentioned earlier, it is the local authorities’ responsibility to make sure that the funds allocated are used to address the state of their roads. But with the way disclosures have happened in the past, few outside ZINARA and local governments know which roads have been earmarked for rehabilitation and how the funds have been used.
In the question and answer segment of the press conference, we asked ZINARA’s executive to provide that information on the authority’s website. By doing this, constituents will be able to track how much money will be disbursed to their local government and which roads will be fixed.
This helps hold local governments accountable for the state of the roads and will overall improve transparency. Because if things stay the way they are, the route one move is to go back to ZINARA and ask them about how the funds disbursed were used.
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