New Road Development Programme adopted

A new Road Development Programme, which is a successor initiative to the Emergency Road Rehabilitation Programme 2 (ERRP2) whose term lapsed at the end of last year, has been adopted by the Government with private sector funding expected to revitalise the country’s road network.

The ERRP programme began in 2021 after President Mnangagwa declared the country’s roads a State of Disaster following incessant rains that damaged major roads.

The programme was implemented over three years ending on December 31 last year and has been credited for the improved road network across the country despite limited resources.

Most of the country’s roads have outlived their lifespan and as such more work needs to rehabilitate the roads. Millions of dollars are therefore required to fund the rehabilitation of roads across the country hence the need to involve the private sector.

ERRP2 was an emergency programme to respond to the state of disaster and road authorities now have to come up with a sustainable programme for the rehabilitation and road construction to improve the country’s road network.

Transport and Infrastructural Development Permanent Secretary, Engineer Joy Makumbe, said Government would now be implementing the Road Development Programme as a successor to ERRP2.

“The Road Development Programme commencing in 2024 shall continue to be supported through fiscus from Treasury and the allocation of funds from Zimbabwe National Road Administration (Zinara),” he said.

He said the existing funding model, which entails the road user pays fees accruing to the road fund for road maintenance and road rehabilitation and the budget allocated by Treasury will continue to finance road projects.

Eng Makumbe said due to funding constraints due to competing priorities for Government resources, the Ministry is prioritising public-private partnerships as an effective financing model to modernise the country’s roads.

She said the Government is also working towards unlocking loans as part of the finances to improve the country’s road network including the Bulawayo-Victoria Falls Road, an economic road, which is badly damaged.

“As already highlighted above, the funding requirements are substantial. Therefore, the Ministry continues to implement different funding models, which include loan-structured projects such as the Harare -Kanyemba Road and Kanyemba Border Post being implemented by Exodus and Co and Ncube Burrow Consortium, the Mbudzi Interchange project being implemented by Fossil Contracting and Shurugwi-Mandamabwe Road to be implemented by Road Trackers Construction,” said Eng Makumbe.

She said Government was also engaged in the Public Private Partnership projects such as the Chirundu Border Post project to be implemented by the Chirundu Border Consortium, the Harare-Nyamapanda Road and the Nyamapanda Border Post project implemented by the Harare Nyamapanda Consortium, the Forbes Border Post and Forbes Road project by the Forbes Border Consortium.

The 120km Old Gwanda Road is one of the roads in the Matabeleland region that is set to be constructed by a private company, Zwane Enterprises under the Build, Operate and Transfer (BOT) arrangement.

Other critical road infrastructure projects include the Bulawayo-Nkayi Road, Bulawayo-Tsholotsho Road and Bulawayo-Kezi Roads.

Eng Makumbe said the reconstruction of the Beitbridge-Bulawayo-Victoria Falls Road, Kwekwe -Nkayi-Lupane Road, Mutare-Masvingo Road and Gweru-Rutenga- Boli-Sango Road, the Mutare Bypass project, Karoi-Binga Road and the JM Nkomo Road (RGM Airport Road) will be funded either through structured loans or  public-privater partnership.

She said Government will continue to prioritise the badly damaged roads under its roads rehabilitation programme.

“Due to the backlog in road rehabilitation and the huge amounts involved Treasury alone cannot fund the programme hence the involvement of the private sector,” said Eng Makumbe.

Herald

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