HARARE – Local authorities have appealed to the parliamentary portfolio committee to coerce the Zimbabwe National Roads Administration (Zinara) to disburse the full amount for road repairs and maintenance.
In a report released last week by the committee on Local Government, councils complained that Zinara’s staggered disbursements were not alleviating the road problem.
Urban and rural councils have been at loggerheads with Zinara arguing that the disbursements are not enough to fix the roads.
“Local authorities are of the view that the bulk of the funds allocated should be disbursed at once and at the beginning of the year to enable them to do the works on time and to pay contractors. Zinara on the other hand said they are unable to disburse the bulk of the allocations at once because they collect these funds from January to December,” read part of the report.
The report indicated that Zinara explained that they disburse the funds depending on what has been collected from tollgates, vehicle licences and other sources.
In the report local authorities also argued that there was need for Zinara to come up with a system and procedure for payment of Interim Payment Certificates (IPCs) allocation.
Findings from the report also showed that while Zinara honoured IPCs the time frame it took to pay them resulted in them not wanting to do work and sometimes taking these local authorities to court for nonpayment.
“The committee observed that contractors would have used their own resources to do the works and to wait for months again after the certificate has been issued was not fair. The committee noted that late payments are not only affecting the contractors but the local authorities themselves because some contractors are now leaving sites without completing the works and the unfinished works are being washed away by rains,” the report said.
The report comes after local authorities told Parliament that 60 percent of Zinara funds are used in the hiring of equipment at the expense of repairs.
“The funds disbursed to local authorities 60 percent normally go to equipment hire. This is why we are calling for a special allocation of resources to local authorities to ensure that they can equip themselves through some facility either duty-free concession or allocation of foreign currency to ensure that we have equipment to service and rehabilitate our roads,” Urban Councils Association of Zimbabwe acting president Tsungai Makore said.