Zimbabwe requires $5 billion to rehabilitate its road network, ideally through public private partnership deals as funds generated through toll fees are not enough to rebuild the strategic infrastructure, a senior government official said today.
Transport secretary Munesu Munodawafa told delegates attending the Utho Capital Mining and Infrastructure conference that toll fees will reach $102 million this year, up from $36 million when tolling was introduced five years ago, after a fee increase effected a few months ago.
Zimbabwe’s nearly 90 000 km of road infrastructure has deteriorated over the last decade due to lack of maintenance. Mudodawafa said government requires between $800 000 and $1.2 million per kilometre to construct major roads.
“With the revised toll fees, we are anticipating that Zinara will be able to mobilize about $102 million for this year. But even then, when you look at $102 million compared to about $5 billion that you need for total intervention, it still leaves scope for PPPs,” Mudodawafa said.
“We believe that for significant progress to be registered, there is scope for PPPs in the road transport sector. There is work in progress to put a legal framework for the PPPs.”
With treasury allocating 76 percent of collected revenue to the government payroll, funding for social spending and capital projects remains limited.
He said government will soon engage a consultancy to craft a new transport policy which he said would be anchored on the agriculture sector, now the second largest contributor to the economy after mining.
“Most of the roads are not viable on their own, except the Beitbridge-Chirundu road. That is the road that can only pay for itself. All the other roads in Zimbabwe, it does not matter how you toll, you will not be able to finance them,” Mudodawafa said.
Work on the $207 million rehabilitation and dualisation of parts of the Plumtree to Mutare highway, funded by the Development Bank of Southern Africa under a joint venture between ZInara (70 percent) and South Africa’s Group Five International has reached at an advanced stage.
Munodawafa added that at least $460 million is needed to resuscitate rail infrastructure and acquire new wagons for the state-owned locomotive operator NRZ.- The Source