Zim gets over $5m for roads rehab

CHINHOYI - Zimbabwe has so far received over $5 million from the Japanese government, which has been channelled toward roads rehabilitation.

This was revealed during a handover ceremony of bitumen to the Transport ministry in Chinhoyi, Mashonaland West Province.

Officiating at the event, Transport and Infrastructure Development minister Joram Gumbo (pictured) said this gesture was a clear testimony of the strong bilateral relations between Harare and Tokyo.

“... this donation has indeed been timely...last season we experienced heavy rains which resulted in most of our road infrastructure being damaged. We have since been carrying out emergency road repairs around the country.

“... since February this year, we have constructed approximately 112 kilometres and resealed a total of 356km of road under this programme,” Gumbo said.

He added: “...through this kind gesture, we received 4 744 metric tonnes of bitumen, 1 164 metric tonnes of cutback bitumen and 1 446 meyric tonnes of cationic emulsion.”

The equipment has been equally distributed to all the eight provinces, excluding Harare and Bulawayo.

Zimbabwe was last year ravaged by Cyclone Dineo whose impact on the country’s roads and bridges was telling, with most of them rendered immobile.

With the country expecting more than average rainfall again this season, fears are rife that what is left of the country’s already battered road network will be completely obliterated. Rains started pounding some parts of Zimbabwe this week.

The Transport minister himself was not too optimistic as the whole country hurtles towards the wet season.

“I would be the first to admit that although most of our roads are now trafficable, a lot of work still needs to be done because most of our roads are still in a gravel state. It is my hope that this time around and given the work that we have done so far, we won’t see the same kind of damage as witnessed after Cyclone Dineo, “ he said.

Speaking on the same occasion, Japan ambassador to Zimbabwe Toshiyuki Iwado said since he commenced his diplomatic duties, his top priority was to further promote the existing friendship that was birthed through the bilateral agreement signed by Japan Prime Minister Shinso Abe and President Robert Mugabe last year.

The agreement included the Grant Aid for Economic -Social Development Project for the procurement of Bitumen “valued at $5,3million.”

He said, “ ... by improving the quality of Zimbabwe’s road infrastructure, this project strengthens the connectivity of the people and economy of Zimbabwe. Its influence even extends beyond Zimbabwe to the entire region. “

Secretary to Treasury Willard Manungo, who was also present, urged the road and local authorities to “play their part in utilising the bitumen in the most effective and efficient manner to ensure the intended objectives of this project for the benefit of the majority of Zimbabweans. “

The call comes as allegations of misappropriation of donations especially in government departments continue to gain voice.

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