By Livingstone Marufu
Rehabilitation of the country’s road network has received a boost after Treasury released $3 million to service and maintain graders.
Government through Zimbabwe National Road Administration (Zinara) bought 80 graders that were distributed to the country’s Rural District Councils (RDCs), but some of them have been rendered unusable due to minor technical faults.
This has resulted in some rural roads becoming unusable due to their poor state.
Transport and Infrastructural Development Minister Dr Joram Gumbo told the parliament recently that graders were now stationed at various provinces to increase the efficiency of road maintenance.
Dr Gumbo said: “The graders will be serviced by Zimbabwe National Road Administration (Zinara) because we have a fund of up to $3 million.
“I know that the graders that are working — some of them need servicing and it is taking time. The graders that we had in local authorities were taking a long time to be serviced as they were waiting for a company called Univern Enterprises, which supplied the graders through Zinara.
“It was taking a lot of time waiting for a person to come from Harare to service a grader which is in Muzarabani; but as you are aware that from January 9 to 12, 2018 I toured all the provinces and told all the councils that the graders are now theirs and they will be serviced there.”
He said councils were expected to follow procedures as the Government had instructed them to service graders on site so they quickly get back to work.
Due to a number of complaints Government has sent a group of monitors to check whether the councils are running the programme efficiently.
In two weeks’ time a progress report will be made. All road department vehicles that work in different constituencies across the country are supposed to go for service soon.
Further, all idle road maintenance equipment are expected to be repaired and start work following release of the $3 million funding.
The road maintenance programme had slowed down due to incessant rains, but with the winding down of the rainy season progress is expected to pick up going forward.
Moreover, the maintenance of the rural roads will help farmers to transport their maize produce in this marketing season.
The improvement in rural road network has encouraged the Grain Marketing Board (GMB) to buy cereals at various selling points in country side.