Treasury has availed $480 million towards road rehabilitation across the country as part of measures to revive roads that have been damaged by heavy rains.
This comes as Cabinet has projected an estimated national production of between 2,5 million and 2,8 million tonnes of maize and 360 000 tonnes of traditional grains after good rains, Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa, said this on Tuesday during a post-Cabinet media briefing in Harare.
She said an update on road rehabilitation was presented by Vice President Constantino Chiwenga as Chairman of the Enhanced Cabinet Committee on Emergency Preparedness and Disaster Management, coming against the background of massive damage to infrastructure.
Zimbabwe has a road network of 98 049km, distributed among the Department of Roads, urban and rural councils and the District Development Fund.
The rehabilitation programme, said Minister Mutsvangwa, was targeting regional trunk roads linking Zimbabwe with neighbouring countries, major highways connecting the main cities, major arteries in urban local authorities, rural access roads and bridges and other drainage structures weakened or damaged by flooding.
“Cabinet was also informed that the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development has already released $480 million towards the p—rogramme. In order to empower local communities, the communities will be engaged under the Labour-Based Arrangement where casual work shall be parcelled out to them on their respective stretches along the roads.
“Local farmers will also be contracted to assist with verge clearing along major roads adjacent to their farms,” said Minister Mutsvangwa.
The Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development will lead the process in identifying and prioritisation of needs, scope of work deliverables and bills of quantities, among other issues.
Minister Mutsvangwa said Cabinet had also been briefed on the Wetlands Master Plan presented by VP Chiwenga where ministers were told of the ongoing flooding which had rendered many homes not habitable thereby creating the need to adopt proper land use practices and avoid settlements in wetlands.
According to the National Wetlands Master Plan, fieldwork had started for greater Harare from Monday this week and the programme will be replicated across the country with rules being put in place to scientifically define wetlands and clearly delineate them.
“The wetlands geo-database will be deposited with the National Data Centre, with a wetlands mobile application being available to assist policy formulation and land use planning.
“The deliverables of the current efforts will be as follows: an interactive wetlands map for Zimbabwe; wetland sub-maps for each of the 10 provinces, down to district and ward level, with co-ordinates accessible on the Web Map and a categorised wetlands map to guide utilisation thereof. Treasury is funding the $6 422 430 for the project,” she said.
On the expected bumper harvest, Cabinet was informed that although the ministry was waiting for the results of the First Round of the Crops and Livestock Assessment later in March 2021, for planning purposes, an estimated national production of 2,5 to 2,8 million tonnes of maize and 360 000 metric tonnes of traditional grains has been based on the promising bumper harvest in 2021.
“On the basis of the aforestated estimates, deliveries to the GMB are expected to be 2 million metric tonnes of cereals (that is, 1,8 million metric tonnes of maize and 200 000 metric tonnes of traditional grains,” said Minister Mutsvangwa.
Some of the measures that have been proposed include the procurement of an additional 93 combine harvesters from John Deere facility (72) and the Belarus programme (21), repair of 25 non-functional harvesters, and avail 200 shellers, among other measures.
“In the same vein, the ministry is importing an additional 13 mobile grain dryers from Italy to the tune of US$1,3 million each, with a capacity of 28 metric tonnes per shift and up to 140 tonnes per day,” said Minister Mutsvangwa.
Cabinet was also updated on the compendium of projects implemented by the Second Republic from January 2018 to December 2020, which was presented by the Minister of State for Presidential Affairs and Monitoring Implementation of Government Programmes, Dr Joram Gumbo.
She said out of 1 388 projects implemented countrywide by the Second Republic, 829 were infrastructural projects while 559 were non-infrastructure projects.