19 April 2017

Zimbabwe: Council to Partner Chinese Firm in Road Deal

Innocent Ruwende — Harare City Council is set to partner one of the largest state-owned companies in China, Sinohydro Corporation, in a deal that could result in roads being rehabilitated and dualised.

The two parties are expected to partner as soon as a feasibility study is completed.

According to recent minutes of the Environmental Management Committee director of works Engineer Phillip Pfukwa sought council approval and authority to sign a Memorandum of Understanding to undertake a feasibility study for the Harare Road Rehabilitation and Dualisation Project between City of Harare and Sinohydro Corporation Limited.

"He reported that Sinohydro had approached the city with a proposal for the rehabilitation and dualisation of Harare roads, read the minutes.

Sinohydro is one of the largest state-owned companies in Beijing, China, which had undertaken major construction works internationally, including in Zimbabwe.

"Sinohydro had submitted an expression of interest in which it proposed to undertake a detailed feasibility study on the project.

"That, subject to approval, council authorises the acting town clerk (Mrs Josephine Ncube) to negotiate and sign an MoU between Harare and Sinohydro."

Early this year, Government declared Harare roads a state of disaster and it moved in to assist the city to rehabilitate the untrafficable roads some of which are contributing to major accidents.

The Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development deployed a team to start work on some of the major roads, but a lot is still to be done as more than 60 percent of the 5 000 kilometres of the road network is impassable.

The incessant rains, which affected most of the country have worsened the conditions of most roads.

Last year, the Zimbabwe National Road Authority allocated $1,2 million to Harare City Council for routine and periodic maintenance, but the city says the amount is a joke and is a far cry from its expectations.

Harare City Council said it was expecting to get between $40 million and $70 million.

Zinara board chairperson Mr Albert Mugabe is on the record saying local authorities had access to the same funds, but used them for other purposes other than road rehabilitation.

He said Zinara inherited roads which required reconstruction, which is the mandate of local authorities.

Local authorities have always been accusing Zinara of giving them meagre funds for roads, leading to the deplorable state of the road network in most towns and cities.


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