Zvamaida Murwira Senior Reporter
Government has committed $465 million on road development programmes aimed at upgrading the country’s road infrastructure in order to ensure access to all areas in the country and thereby creating investment opportunities in all places, a Cabinet minister has said. In a statement yesterday, Finance and Economic Development Minister Professor Mthuli Ncube said the money came from both the fiscus and the two percent Intermediated Money Transfer Tax and was meant to open up previously inaccessible areas as well as upgrading existing ones.
“Road infrastructure is arguably the most important of all our public assets as it contributes to economic development and growth while providing access to economic opportunities, employment, health and education services as part of our strategy to fight poverty. Investment in a well-connected road network is good for both business and balanced development in the country. It opens up previously inaccessible areas while also crowding in private sector investment to our growth points and service centres, thereby stimulating economic and social development for our rural communities,” said Prof Ncube.
“Therefore as part of our thrust towards development across the country as well as opening economic opportunities for inaccessible regions, Government is implementing the Road Development Programme, which seeks to upgrade in a phased approach our 98 133km road network. As at 15 October 2019, $464 606 906 has been availed from the fiscus drawing some of the resources from the 2 percent Intermediated Money Transfer Tax. This amount excludes support from the Road Fund (zinara) which mainly targets maintenance programmes implemented by road authorities, that is, the Department of Roads, District Development Fund and local authorities.”
According to a table of projects, some of the work covered included dualisation of the road from Beitbridge to Harare and compensation of affected properties.
Progress as at September 30, 2019 is a Beatrice and Chivhu section of three kilometres and four kilometres detour now open to traffic with a revised budget of $100 million.
There is also construction of a traffic interchange at Mbudzi Roundabout which is now at design stage to be built at a cost of $20 million. In Manicaland province, there is reconstruction of Murambinda-Birchenough Bridge Road with a section now open to traffic as the project was now 23 percent complete.
The project is being carried out at an estimated cost of $14 million.
There is also Bulawayo-Nkayi Road construction from the 43km peg to 65km peg with 2,6km having been primed with engineers now ready to surface it.