City mulls road development levy

14 Jun, 2024 - 00:06 0 Views
City mulls road development levy Application of asphalt overlay on Crowhill Road from Liberation Legacy Way to Luna Road.

Suburban

Suburban Reporter

THE City of Harare is mulling introducing a road development levy to augment funding for road repairs and maintenance.

Harare has a total road network of more than 4 500 kilometres and the current budget for roads is not adequate to cover the city’s target to maintain at least 400km annually.

Mayor Jacob Mafume told residents and stakeholders  in his State of the City Address (SOCA)  recently that the city is considering the introduction of a road development levy to take care of the city’s roads.

“The Roads Programme requires a huge capital investment and because of that, City of Harare is considering implementing a broad strategy of introducing a Road Development Levy to address the current challenges being experienced by our motorists and all road users.

“The City has a total road network of plus 4500km. As I reported in December, we are operating in a fire fighting mode on (the) road programme as the current budget for roads is not adequate to meet our routine and programmed road maintenance targets of 400km annually,” Councillor Mafume said.

If the city introduces the road levy it means Harare motorists will be paying more in addition to the vehicle licenses paid to ZINARA, insurance and car radio licenses. It remains to be seen how motorists and Harare residents will receive the proposal given the city’s questionable financial management.

Cllr Mafume said in 2023, council received ZW13.6 Billion from ZINARA (Zimbabwe National Roads Administration) and all the money was used for the roads programme.

He said as January this year ZINARA had promised a 2024 Roads Budget of ZW34.3 Billion (US$ 3.4 million) and when the budget was pronounced,  the amount was equivalent to US$5 million but has significantly lost its value due to inflation.

“ZINARA on the 19th of March 2024, gave us advance payment of ZWL8.5 Billion.  We have since used the money for the roads programme and we are hoping to receive additional disbursement soon,” said the Mayor.

On a very positive note, he said, the City is working with central Government in rehabilitating and maintaining major roads and road infrastructure in preparation for the August SADC Summit as well as in the general maintenance of the city’s road network.

“As a hosting City, we are proactively up to the task and will work closely with the central Government so that all the targeted 187km of selected City Roads will be rehabilitated.  These are the major roads and roads infrastructure leading to and from the CBD and selected routes which will be used by our delegates.

“We are working closely with the  Department of Roads in the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure Development and our Road Fund Administrator- ZINARA in managing our city road network and infrastructure,’” said Cllr Mafume.

He said going forward the city’s  focus will be  on the following:

  • Maintenance of major roads in our residential areas
  • Traffic signal functionality- 100% functionality in CBD so that we reduce congestion
  • We will continue to deploy our traffic officers and ZRP officers to control traffic movement in the CBD and major intersections across the city.
  • We will continue to pursue our road widening and traffic circles upgrading agenda so that we improve on Trafficability.

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