Zinara willing to partner financiers

HARARE - The Zimbabwe National Roads Administration (Zinara) is amenable to the idea of partnering other funding organisations in the development of key soft and hard infrastructure at border points, including Beitbridge.

This comes as the African Road Maintenance Funds Association (ARMFA) president Anthony Mwanaumo has said funding remains a challenge for many of his 34-member institutions, but they are open to embracing opportunities from other sources and development partners.

Although the Zinara board chairperson Albert Mugabe would not specifically comment on suggestions that they were considering the expansion of the key southern entry point — at the back of a $2 billion guarantee from a regional lender — he said they were open to “road investment deals and for as long as the terms were fair”.

“As a constituent element within the ministry of Transport… that works at the border, we are very concerned about the prevailing conditions at Beitbridge. The state of our hard and soft infrastructure at the borders is bleeding our economy. For example, a three-day delay for a 30 000 litre tanker of fuel… carries an approximate cost of three percent,” he said, adding trucks were spending as much as two weeks at southern Africa’s busiest point since different vehicle classes were using the same lane.

“Developing road structure for improved road freight is one of our primary goals, but regrettably there is a huge mismatch between what we collect and what is required,” Mugabe told businessdaily, adding they also had no “apologies for helping improve access to other key national security apparatus such as army barracks”.

Amid indications that the parastatal was pocketing a cool $14 million-plus yearly from the management of the New Limpopo Bridge, which it took over in September last year, analysts say Zinara could harness those resources to help build customs and immigration facilities at Beitbridge, which processes about four million people and 10 million tonnes of cargo annually.

The development comes as a consortium of financiers — led by Old Mutual and Standard Bank of South Africa — has offered to expand the Beitbridge border post for a $100 million. But four years on, the South African Infrastructure Investment Company is still waiting.

Just as Mugabe has emphasised that “computerisation” was key to successful road fund management, the Harare-based organisation’s revenue has spiked 300 percent after signing on Serge Levy’s Southern Region Trading Company.

At a recent ARMFA meeting in Victoria Falls, Mwanaumo said the 12 year association must continue to share knowledge on ways of keeping continental roads and the institution was fairly impressed by Zimbabwe’s “road rehabilitation plans”.

“There are several opportunities that are existing under the AU in terms of resources, capacity building and by associating ourselves with the AU, we will be buying into those opportunities,” he said.

Mwanaumo also highlighted the need for all executive committee members to shoulder a mutual responsibility for attaining sustainable road funds, which would feed into a “sustainable networks for Africa’s economic development”.

Meanwhile, Zinara is due to host the ARFMA’s annual general meeting in Victoria Falls later this month.

Comments (2)

muZimbabwe dai kutaura kwaiva kuita tingadai tava kana mberi kwemhino chaiko!

Donato Matibili - 17 February 2015

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