Local Authority

$1,8b roads money lying idle at City of Mutare

-as contractor rejects RTGS

NYASHA MARUMBI

City of Mutare last year received ZWL$1.8 billion from the Zimbabwe National Roads Administration (ZINARA) for roads rehabilitation, but the money has been lying idle in the local authority’s roads account after the constructor flatly refused to be paid in the fast-depreciating local currency.

Speaking during the official commissioning of plant equipment on Monday, City of Mutare Acting Town Clerk, Blessing Chafesuka requested support from the Minister of State for Manicaland Provincial Affairs and Devolution, Misheck Mugadza, to intervene so that the contractor takes the local currency and resume work on the potholed infested roads.

“We request your support Minister, we received about ZW$1.8 billion on 28 December 2023 from ZINARA for roads but the contractor has refused to start road rehabilitation if he is not paid his services in United States Dollars. So we are stuck with that money in our bank account.

“We had proposed to ZINARA that as a city we are collecting US dollars and our model is we can use the RTGS buy gold coins which will mature in six months but in the meantime we can prefund these projects so that they are not stopped but ZINARA has maintained a golden silence,” pleaded Chafesuka.

Chafesuka reiterated that since they made that proposal last year, ZINARA was dragging its feet in responding to their request. He added that since receiving the roads fund last year, the local authority had lost a whopping 30 percent of the value of that money.

Mugadza who was the guest of honor at the commissioning ceremony concurred that the roads fund deposited into the local authority was indeed losing value, although he could not suggest what exactly can be done for the money to maintain its value.

“There is money losing value out there, we cannot sit in our offices and just watch. Something has to be done about that ZWL$1.8 billion. It has to work whilst it still has value,” said Mugadza.

City of Mutare on Monday commissioned USD$2.4 million plant and equipment procured in 2023 using its own resources and Government Devolution Funds.

 The plant and equipment commissioned include 5 fire tenders, 6 refuse compactors, a grader, Pneumatic Roller, 72 motor cycles, Dozer, Utility vehicles and Water Bowers.

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