Monday, April 15, 2019

Local authorities to resume implementing road projects: New ZINARA board

NORMALCY could have returned at the Zimbabwe National Roads Administration after the new board led by Engineer Michael Madanha stamped its authority and ordered the road fund to stop implementing road projects, which is a preserve of local authorities.
This is in line with the directive given by Transport and Infrastructural Development Minister Joe Biggie Matiza that Zinara should stick to its core mandate as enshrined in the Road Act.
Since 2011, Zinara assumed an extra role of implementing road projects, leading to revenue leakages to the tune of US$71 million as revealed by an audit by Grant Thornton.
Most of the road projects implemented by Zinara were not tendered, while others were left incomplete.
In an interview, Eng Madanha said his board stopped the implementation of road projects and made it clear that anyone who flouted that standing rule would bid farewell to Zinara.
 “We stamped our authority and made it clearly understood that Zinara doesn’t implement road projects, but disburses money and monitors evaluation, apart from collecting road user fees,” said Eng Madanha.
“By implementing this, we eliminated more than 50 percent of the problems at Zinara. Since 2011, Zinara was implementing road construction projects which itself was an extra core function. What was happening is that Zinara will tender the works, do bid evaluation, they will appoint contractors and assign contractors and they will deploy them to the provinces to work with local authorities and do the auditing and monitoring and evaluation. 
“At the end of the day they will do the measurement of the work done and make the payment.”
Eng Madanha said they had also moved to plug revenue leakages at toll gates and abuse of transit coupons.
“We have closed this leakage because no one now can let any car which is not on exemption to pass besides the director of that line revenue stream,” he said. “We had also leakages at transit fees. When vehicles transit to another country using our roads, they are issued with transit coupons which allow them to pass through our roads for two weeks, including toll gates. 
“After two or three days from issuance, some officials were going into the system and cancel the coupon and pocket the money. That is why I don’t want Univern to be disturbed because Univern are our key witness in this investigation.
 “Their system picks up everything that is happening anywhere. If you are given a transit coupon they can track you. We have now said no one at the border can cancel a transit coupon, but only the director and Univern will give us information pertaining to that.” 
Eng Madanha said last week that they had a three-day strategic workshop with the Zinara management which mapped the organisation’s future.
He said the workshop was a huge success as it improved communication and interaction between the executive and the management, who in the past rarely engaged.