MDC councils not utilising ZINARA funds

Ronald Banda in Victoria Falls

MDC-A run local authorities, chief among them Harare City Council and City of Gweru, were not utilising funds disbursed under the USD400 million Emergency Road Rehabilitation Program 2 (ERRP2) as part of the party’s strategy to puncture the ZANU PF Government’s led Urban Renewal Project.

This came to light during the official opening of the ZINARA organised two-day Road Authorities Workshop which started in the resort town of Victoria Falls this morning.

In a speech read on his behalf by Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure Development, Theodius Chinyanga, the Transport Minister, Cde Felix Mhona warned local authorities against sabotaging Government initiatives.

“I am advised that there has been a low uptake of funds from ZINARA for road rehabilitation as most Road Authorities are failing to utilise their disbursements due to lack of procurement and technical skills within their structures.

“Thus this workshop provides a suitable and opportunity for you as Road Authorities to learn as much as you can on the processes from experts from the Procurement Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (PRAZ).

“As Government, it is our desire to see all funds being allocated for road rehabilitation being utilised for that purpose. As we implement our projects, let us also adhere to quality standards expected and work within the time frameworks provided.”

Speaking at the same conference, ZINARA Chief Executive Officer, Mr Nkosinathi Ncube called for team work across all the stakeholders.

“Let us all be Team Zimbabwe. Let us not allow our differences or associations stand before the ERRP2 initiative,” Ncube said.

Meanwhile, a source close to the goings on said the MDC-A led councils were the chief culprits.

“Harare City Council and City of Gweru are the chief culprits not utilising disbursed funds. They just started some works in October after some due pressure. They view the project as a threat to their 2023 harmonised elections aspirations. They do not want to see the project take off,” said a source speaking on conditions of anonymity.

Minister Mhona also rang the bell against corruption.

“However, as we develop our road infrastructure, it is key to note that this effort involves a lot of cumbersome processes that include procurement of goods and services as well as the contract management processes that you need to be well versed with as Road Authorities.

“As you execute your legislative mandate, Accounting Officers/Chief Executive Officers and Procurement Managements Units are required to observe the key objectives of the public procurements to avoid instants mis-procurement.

“Some of the critical procurement objectives are to provide for the fair and equitable treatment of all bidders to procurement contracts that represent good value for money and that are cost effective; to promote integrity of, and fairness and public confidence in procurement processes; to promote competition amongst bidders.”