By A Correspondent| The City of Harare finds itself in the grip of a road maintenance funding dilemma as the Zimbabwe National Road Administration (ZINARA) stands accused of daylight robbery, channeling a mere pittance of the staggering US$64 million contributed annually by the city’s 800,000 registered vehicles.
Mayor Jacob Mafume, the outspoken voice of Harare’s discontent, bemoans the meager US$2 million that trickles back to the city, constituting a paltry 3% of the colossal sum amassed from motorists’ pockets.
Mafume insists that the existing funding model is not only flawed but actively working against the city’s interests.
In a passionate plea for justice, Mayor Mafume declares, “We have communicated to the authorities that Harare has 800,000 cars, each paying US$20 per quarter. Harare motorists contribute US$64 million annually to ZINARA, but we only receive US$2 million.”
The city’s cries for a review have fallen on deaf ears for two consecutive years, leaving Harare drowning in neglected infrastructure. Mafume, undeterred by ZINARA’s indifference, exposes the glaring inadequacy of the funding received, especially considering the additional revenue generated through fuel levies and carbon taxes.
“We are not receiving anything from the fuel levy, even though the majority of fuel is consumed in Harare. The fuel levy is paid in USD, but ZINARA provides us with Zimbabwean dollars. Additionally, we get nothing from the carbon tax, which we could use to acquire equipment for air pollution measurement,” Mafume passionately explains.
Despite promises from ZINARA to engage with local authorities and reassess the funding formula, the status quo remains unchanged. Urgency grips the city as it grapples with deteriorating roads, drainage nightmares, and a desperate need for funding to revive its decaying infrastructure.
Harare, with its sprawling 5,000 km road network, demands significant investment for rehabilitation and routine maintenance.
The city’s ambitious plan to refurbish 250 km of roads annually over the next five years comes with a hefty price tag of USD 250 million.
Routine maintenance for 1,200 km each year adds an additional US$60 million to the bill.
In 2024, Harare targets the rehabilitation of 60 km of roads and 500 km of routine maintenance, desperately seeking the much-needed funds from ZINARA.
As the city struggles to keep its roads from crumbling, ZINARA’s contribution of ZWL$11,843,204,586 in 2023 seems like a drop in the bucket compared to the city’s monumental needs.
Harare’s highway heist has captured the attention of residents who demand answers and justice for a city being systematically robbed of its rightful funds.