The Zimbabwe National Roads Administration (ZINARA) has dismissed claims it was deliberately withholding funds meant for the City of Harare’s road rehabilitation programme, leading to just 15km out of 130km being attended to this year.
This follows claims by city chairperson of the finance and development committee councillor Tichavona Mhetu the exercise had fallen behind due to late disbursement of funds and price variations caused by the distortions in the market.
Mhetu had been presenting the City’s 2022 budget statement.
“This year we targeted to rehabilitate 130km, but we have only done 15km and we also targeted to maintain 400km, but we only managed 297km. This sector relies heavily on Zinara funds and we have received $198,9 million out of an allocation of $483 million which is still inadequate given the capital-intensive nature of the works,” Mhetu said.
“The poor performance of this programme is attributed to the late disbursement of funds and price variations caused by the distortions in the market. It must be acknowledged that the amount allocated is inadequate to carry out intended capital works. We always request more from Zinara, but Zinara has not responded positively.”
However, in a statement Sunday, ZINARA dismissed apparent accusations of sabotage, saying it was in fact the city itself which was dithering in processes aimed at unlocking more funding.
Said the road administrator, “The City of Harare alleges that their budget for 2021 is ZWL$483 million. The correct position is that the budget for the City of Harare for 2021 is ZWL$1, 359 billion.
“It is not correct ZINARA is delaying with disbursements to the city of Harare. The correct position is that early in the year, the City of Harare advised ZINARA that they were facing internal problems that resulted in acquittal challenges and delays in the implementation of 2021 projects.”
The road authority said it has in the past engaged the City of Harare and expressed concern over the under utilisation of funds by the City of Harare.
“In 2021, ZINARA has made two advance disbursements to the City of Harare.
“The first advance disbursement was made in April 2021 for ZWL$44 million and the second disbursement was for ZWL$154 million in September 2021.
“The City of Harare is yet to acquit the ZWL$154 million for them to access the next disbursement. The funds in line with the allocation are available and further disbursements will only be made once the City of Harare acquits,” said the road administrator.