GOVERNMENT has said it is working to ensure road projects are completed within the stipulated timeframes and will soon allocate 200 000 litres of diesel as part of measures to speed up the road works.
Speaking in an interview during an inspection of the West Nicholson-Mberengwa Road project in West Nicholson last week, Transport and Infrastructural Development Minister Joel Biggie Matiza said they had put in place measures to ensure projects go back on track and are completed within the stipulated time.
“The pace in this project has been slow mainly due to a shortage of fuel and also payments to the contractor,” he said. “We are seized with this project and want to accelerate it as well as other ongoing projects. One of the issues is to procure diesel.
“We have discussed with CMED and countrywide there will be 200 000 litres availed for development of this infrastructure and this road is definitely part of that.
“One of the other reasons that has delayed this project is lack of equipment in the region. Some of the contractors we have in the region are not well equipped and unfortunately those with the necessary resources cannot take up all the projects in the region. We have discussed with CMED to do some procurement on behalf of the contractors we have here so that we can start accelerating projects.”
Minister Matiza said his ministry was putting up a system that will ensure contractors were paid on time.
He said tarring of 10 kilometres along the West Nicholson-Mberengwa road in Matabeleland South Province was expected to have been completed by November.
The project started in April.
He said Government is working on improving the road network in Matabeleland South Province through tarring gravel roads and rehabilitating tarred roads that are in a poor state.
“We are working on making sure that those projects in the budget that have not been funded are funded as soon as possible,” said Minister Matiza. “His Excellency wants to see projects in this region being accelerated at the same pace as projects in other provinces.
“The funds we had allocated for projects are no longer enough therefore we are working on a supplementary budget.
“Our aim is to make sure the 2030 vision is achieved. In areas where contractors are not performing well either because they are small or don’t have equipment we are devising a means where we will have bigger contractors coming in to work with them so that projects are fixed. We are not for terminating these projects.”
In an interview, Matabeleland South provincial roads engineer Joseph Makokove said $12 million had been allocated by Government towards tarring of 10 kilometres of the 42-kilometre stretch along the West Nicholson-Mberengwa road and so far $7 million had been disbursed.
He said an additional $20 million was required for the project.
Eng Makokove said the remaining 60 kilometres along the West-Nicholson-Mberengwa road located in the Midlands Province had a similar project.
“As Matabeleland South we are tarring the road from West Nicholson to Dolo which is our boundary with Mberengwa while Midlands Province is tarring the road which branches off from the Bulawayo-Zvishavane road in Mberengwa to Dolo where the tarred roads will meet,” he said.