DDF recapitalisation to revive rural development

Source: DDF recapitalisation to revive rural development | Herald (Top Stories)

Elita Chikwati

Senior Reporter 

The recapitalisation of the District Development Fund will see the institution being able to bust sanctions and go back to its mandate of providing sustainable rural development to uplift livelihoods of people in communal areas.

Government is recapitalising the DDF through provision of machinery for its various programmes.

DDF is a Government department under the Office of the President and Cabinet tasked with the development and maintenance of infrastructure, water supplies, road services, hire of plant and equipment, and tillage services.

At its inception, in terms of rural roads programme, DDF had four operational units comprising two graders, four tippers, a frontline loader, a dozer, flatbed, and water bowers.

But the equipment is hardly enough to constitute one unit per province.

DDF was now relying on plant hire services from the private sector whose charges are always prohibitive.

The institution could not repair its machinery or access spares for its Western sourced equipment because of sanctions, prompting Government to intervene with the recapitalisation programme.

Treasury, through the Zimbabwe National Road Administration, allocated resources for the procurement of 16 motorised graders and 24 supervisory vehicles for DDF.

Last week, Presidential Affairs and Monitoring of Implementation of Government Programmes Minister, Dr Joram Gumbo, handed over two of the graders to DDF.

Officiating at the handover ceremony at Barzem Enterprises in Msasa, Harare, Minister Gumbo applauded the DDF for scoring successes in the construction, rehabilitation and maintenance of roads and bridges countrywide despite various challenges that included sanctions.

Some of the projects had been implemented under the 100-Day Cycle Programme. 

“Sanctions imposed on the country since the Land Reform Programme have also affected the maintenance of the DDF plant and equipment which was either donated or bought mainly from the Western world,” said Minister Gumbo. 

“I am, however, pleased that despite the limitations, you have managed to score success. I welcome the positive response by government to the plea by the DDF for recapitalisation. I am grateful that Treasury has through Zinara allocated resources to procure 16 motorised graders and 24 supervisory vehicles.” 

Permanent Secretary for DDF in the Office of the President and Cabinet, Mr James Jonga, said the equipment had depleted over the years.

“This is the beginning of trying to rebuild to go back to where we were, he said. We are starting off with 16 graders and we are going to be getting some 24 supervisory vehicles to support the movement in terms of supervising the work being done.

“While this may look like a drop in the ocean in relation to what I have given as the totality of the initial equipment it’s a good effort in the adversaries we find ourselves.” 

 Mr Jonga expressed gratitude to Treasury for being responsive to the call to recapitalise the DDF.

Road construction is one of the operations that DDF does to uplift the standards of people in rural areas. 

“We also provide primary water services,” said Mr Jonga. 

“Treasury has also provided resources to procure 10 drilling rigs to recapitalise DDF. 

 “Initially, we had 32 rigs and had gone down to 10. Now we are supposed to get 10 more rigs.” 

Barzem country manager, Mr Henry Madovi, said they were committed to working with Government in infrastructural development.

“We are partnering Government in making sure we bring in machines for road construction, he said. We want to ensure our machinery supplies a lifetime investment.

“Caterpillar is going to offer a workshop on road construction to all willing construction companies in Zimbabwe on May 23 for free.” 

DDF has several projects being implemented in all parts of the country, including areas hit by Cyclone Idai and the drought.

The projects have brought relief to people facing water shortages, whose irrigation schemes were no longer functional and those who were facing challenges in accessing services due to the absence of roads.