BY SILAS NKALA
GOVERNMENT recently withdrew the Inter-governmental Fiscal Transfers (IGFT) 2021 funds allocation for devolution for Bulawayo to rehabilitate roads, Bulawayo City Council (BCC) documents show.
Minutes of the latest BCC full council meeting reveal that government will not disburse the huge sums of money it had initially allocated to the local authority for road maintenance.
This is according to a report on capital budget and expenditure presented at the meeting by the city’s director of engineering services, Simela Dube.
The servicing of roads was at ZW$607 500 000 (US$7,1 million), road works at ZW$810 million (US$9,4 million), new construction ZW$50 271 030 (US$5,8 million), overlays ZW$77 253 523 (US$902 500) with ZW$11 801 110 (US$138 000) expenditure, reseals ZW$117 660 600 (US$1,37 million) with zero expenditure, reconstruction ZW$32 035 074 (US$374 241) and the total budget was ZW$1 694 720 227 (US$19,8 million) and only ZW$11 801 110 was spent.
“The government withdrew the IGFTs (Devolution) fund meant for road works in lieu of the Emergency Roads Rehabilitation Programme 2 (ERRP2), hence the rehabilitation works for Old Esigodini road and the surfacing works for roads that were constructed to gravel standard were deferred to 2022 financial year,” the minutes read.
“However, the Old Esigodini road (as 12th Avenue extension, 7km stretch) from Leeside shopping centre to city boundary was part of the roads that were approved for takeover by the Ministry of Transport for rehabilitation.”
The minutes state that the government withdrew the Routine Maintenance Funds from Zimbabwe National Road Administration (Zinara) meant for road works in lieu of the ERRP2, which was in progress.
Dube, the minutes show, also reported that under the ERRP2 programme, Zinara had disbursed ZW$19 565 589 (US$229 000) as advance payment for phases one and two combined.
“The final approved total allocation for the ERRP2 was ZW$625 549 822,14 (US$7,3 million),” the minutes show.
“The advance funds had been used in the procurement of materials to produce cold mix, hot mix, road line paint and to cover batching fees for pothole patching and overlay works using Council’s in-house teams. The acquittal for the disbursed ZW$19 million has been sent to Zinara and we awaited further disbursement of funds to continue the works.”