Govt sets aside $139m for infrastructure

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GOVERNMENT has set aside a cumulative budget of $139 million for rail, road and air projects to improve and rehabilitate the country’s transport network infrastructure to enhance their efficiency.

The projects, which will be funded through fiscal resources, are expected to rehabilitate and expand rail, road and air projects in 2018. During his 2018 Budget presentation last week Finance and Economic Planning Minister Patrick Chinamasa said that Government will ensure all planned projects are executed accordingly.

He said: “Given the critical role of transport infrastructure in the socio-economic development of the country, investments in transport infrastructure will be prioritised in 2018, targeting road, rail and aviation.

“Due to the state of our roads, $89,6 million and the Road Fund will target improvement in road network. This is through restoration and upgrading of damaged sections and bridges, dualisation of Harare-Beitbridge and critical sections of the network and capacitation of Road Authorities.”

Government will extend its support towards the dualisation of and upgrading of the road network, including Harare-Beitbridge Dualisation project. Furthermore, an allocation of $4,6 million will target ongoing works for dualisation of Harare-Mutare road section between Goromonzi turn-off and Jamaica Inn Toll Plaza as well as the Hare-Bulawayo road section, between Norton Service Centre and the Norton Toll Plaza.

Minister Chinamasa said Government has set aside $15 million for road authorities’ equipment. With regards to aviation infrastructure priority will be on expansion of the capacity of local and international airports.

“In this regard, a provision of $7 million will target works for the construction of J.M Nkomo Airport Control Tower. Further, negotiations on the $153 million for the Robert Mugabe International Airport upgrading are expected before end of December 2017, paving way for commencement of the works,” said Minister Chinamasa.

The targeted scope of work include the expansion of terminal building, rehabilitation of the runway, construction of aerobridges and radar system. Meanwhile a budget provision of $10 million has been set aside to cater for required emergency works on the rail network. Strategies to recapitalise National Railways of Zimbabwe provide an opportunity for restoration for restoration of the role of rail transport, an affordable mode for bulk transportation, which eases the cost of doing business and hence domestic production competitiveness.

The recapitalisation programme targets refurbishment and replacement and replacement of NRZ rolling stock, signalling, ICT and track infrastructure, among others, under a joint venture partnership model estimated to cost $408 million. This will raise NRZ’s capacity to move cargo from the current 3,8 million to its peak of 18 million tonnes per annum.–herald

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