Govt mulls en­gag­ing pri­vate play­ers to con­struct roads

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - National News - Nqo­bile Tshili Chron­i­cle Cor­re­spon­dent

THE Govern­ment is con­sid­er­ing en­gag­ing pri­vate play­ers to fund the con­struc­tion of roads through Pri­vate Pub­lic Part­ner­ships (PPPs).

The Min­is­ter of Trans­port and In­fras­truc­tural De­vel­op­ment, Dr Jo­ram Gumbo said he has since ap­plied to the Min­is­ter of Fi­nance and Eco­nomic De­vel­op­ment Cde Ig­natius Chombo to give him a go ahead to en­gage pri­vate play­ers on the project.

Dr Gumbo made the re­marks yes­ter­day in Tsholot­sho af­ter tour­ing the Tsholot­sho-Phe­land­aba Road which links Phe­land­aba area and Tsholot­sho cen­tre where he pledged funds for the re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion of the road.

He said com­pa­nies that are go­ing to be en­gaged in the PPPs will re­coup their in­vest­ments through toll­gate pay­ments.

“What I’m propos­ing to do re­gard­ing most of our roads, I’ve have al­ready writ­ten to the Min­is­ter of Fi­nance re­quest­ing for per­mis­sion to be al­lowed to en­gage any­body who might have money and are in­ter­ested to do cer­tain roads,” he said.

“I want to have a fea­si­bil­ity study, so that I know the cost of roads. I’m say­ing let us have one or two peo­ple who are in­ter­ested on a road to adopt it. Take for in­stance the road from Bu­l­awayo to Nkayi, or Kwekwe- Nkayi-Lu­pane or Harare-Nyama­panda. There are peo­ple who are in­ter­ested in re­pair­ing these roads. So I want them to come and do these roads. We can’t al­ways be look­ing at Govern­ment to give us money. Let’s make use of the PPP ar­range­ment and em­ploy the toll­gate sys­tem for re­pay­ments.”

Dr Gumbo said Govern­ment was con­cerned with the state of the coun­try’s roads.

He said the Tsholot­sho-Phe­land­aba Road needs ur­gent at­ten­tion with lo­cals say­ing it has be­come in­ac­ces­si­ble.

“From the pro­jec­tions of the en­gi­neers we need some­thing like $900 000 to make the road good but if we can’t get the money we will look for $400 000 to do spot grav­el­ling to make the road traf­fi­ca­ble,” he said.

Chief Siphoso from Tsholot­sho’s Phe­land­aba area said be­cause of the bad state of the road, buses were now shun­ning the area forc­ing lo­cals to walk long dis­tances to ac­cess trans­port.

He said Govern­ment should ur­gently re­ha­bil­i­tate the road as vil­lagers were risk­ing their lives walk­ing long dis­tances in the area which has a high pop­u­la­tion of lions and ele­phants due to its prox­im­ity to Hwange Na­tional Park.

Last year, the Min­istry availed $600 000 for the re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion of the same road but the money was only used to re­pair only a frac­tion of the road. — @nqot­shili

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