By Innocent Ruwende
Harare motorists are set to fork out more for using city roads as the local authority mulls introducing a fee for road maintenance following inadequate allocations from the Zimbabwe National Road Administration (Zinara).Harare City Council was allocated $1,2 million for road maintenance this year, an amount it dismissed as a joke and a far-cry from its requirements. The city said the proposed new road fee would help it maintain roads because depending on Zinara spelt doom.
It costs between $850 000 and $1,2 million to construct one kilometre of tarred road, which means motorists may have to endure potholes. Engineer Moses Juma of Zinara recently asked council to submit its 2017 programme of works.
“According to the Road Act Chapter 13:18 Section 16, the town is requested to submit a programme works for 2017 financial year.
“Kindly be advised that your allocation for 2017 is $1 262 854, the programme should highlight 30 percent routine and 70 percent periodic maintenance, and should be submitted by November 2016,” reads the letter.
Responding to the allocation recently, Harare Mayor Councillor Bernard Manyenyeni, said: “It is a joke. What does Zinara do for a living? If Harare has got anything to do with road maintenance, we may have to introduce our own road fee. Good bye roads for now.
“We expect $40m to $70m per year and you would notice it working. We can’t be taking money for water treatment to fix roads.”
Zinara board chairperson Mr Albert Mugabe said local authorities had access to the same funds but used them for other purposes other than roads.
“If there is routine maintenance it is cheaper but when you do not maintain, you will need rehabilitation. If you fail the two you will need reconstruction. We found the roads in the last stage which requires a lot of investment. It is the duty of local authorities to construct their roads,” he said.
Local authorities have always been accusing Zinara of allocating them meagre resources.
They have called for a change in policy to enable local authorities to collect licence fees in order to fulfil their mandates or alternatively for the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development to allocate financial resources in accordance with the number of vehicles residing in an area.