AN international consultant will soon be engaged by the Ministry of Local Government and Public Works to come up with an urban transport transformation strategy.
The transport strategy is among seven strategies the ministry has earmarked for next year.
Appearing before Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Local Government, Public Works and National Housing, the Ministry said its priorities included: consolidation of the 2024 urban transport transformation strategy; finalisation of the Urban Areas (Commuter Omnibus) Regulations; consolidation of the spatial plan implementation Strategy and consolidation of Smart City guidelines.”
Most cities and towns face public transport challenges that have seen commuters resorting to the use of pirate taxis commonly called mushikashika. Some commuters have fallen prey to robbers who operate some of the pirate taxis.
The ministry also said it would finalise the amendments to the Urban Councils Act and the Rural District Councils Act, host the 2024 All Councillors Indaba which will be an interface for all 2 585 councillors to interact with President Mnangagwa and the ministries that interact actively with local authorities.
The ministry will also create a local authorities department to facilitate capacitation of local authorities to update local economic development plans in line with Government’s vision of creating district-oriented gross domestic products and the thrust towards an upper middle-income economy by 2030.
Disaster mitigation and preparedness needs to be improved with planning through multi-hazard risk assessments in tandem with international trends such as the Sendai framework for disaster risk reduction and improved response mechanisms to major emergencies with emphasis on pre-emptive evacuation of communities at risk and expediency on search and rescue using technologies such as all-weather helicopters, drone technologies and specialised rescue equipment.
“The programme was allocated $37 billion against a requirement of $70 billion and the allocation is not enough to prepare the country for disasters that have become more frequent due to hydro-meteorological hazards and exacerbated by the impacts of climate change; the allocated budget to deal with disasters is grossly inadequate.
“Moreover, disaster risk management operations are executed within the context of a multi-hazard environment which entails co-ordination of civil protection organisations most of which are dependent on the support of the Department of Civil Protection for effectiveness and efficiency,” the ministry said in a statement.