By Reason Razao | Senior Reporter
Government has defended its efforts to rehabilitate and maintain the country’s road network saying the projects had stalled due to budgetary constraints.
The Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development, Felix Mhona, told Parliament that the government has resumed all stalled road projects across the country.
Mhona emphasized the importance of good roads for economic development, stating that “If you have got a good road, you also have got a good economy.”
He acknowledged the challenges posed by the country’s 90,000km road network and the limited resources available but stressed the government’s commitment to using domestic resources to improve the country’s infrastructure.
“We are against sanctions and we are using our resources, contrary to other jurisdictions where roads are rehabilitated using the funds from World Bank and IMF,” Mhona said.
Following Mhona’s response, Emakhandeni-Luveve legislator Collins Bajila flagged the government’s move to rehabilitate roads that fall under local authorities.
The minister of Transport said despite the government’s move to rehabilitate these roads, once completed they will be handed back to councils.
Government has been accusing councils of neglecting the intra-city road networks.
Going to the Road Act, subsection 5 (4) stipulates that if a local authority fails to discharge its duties, then the Ministry of Transport will take over that responsibility and rehabilitate the road.
“The road will eventually be submitted back to the local authority. Indeed, we rehabilitate such roads and hand them over for maintenance to the municipal authorities.
“That is why you see most urban roads being refurbished. When we take over, it means that someone has failed to do their job.
“We appreciate the fact that the roads that were alluded to by the Hon. Members are going to be rehabilitated and we will take them back to the municipal authorities,” said Mhona.