Road contractors who fail to meet expected standards to return funds, government warns

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By Thandiwe Garusa

CONTRACTORS involved in the country’s road rehabilitation programme have been warned they will have to reimburse funds forwarded to them by government if they fail to meet expected standards.

Speaking on behalf of transport minister Felix Mhona during a parliamentary and portfolio committee on transport and infrastructure in Nyanga Friday, permanent secretary Tedious Chinyanga said government will be blacklisting some of the contractors where signs of extreme failure are visible.

“As we implement road works under ERRP 2, we have noted that some contractors are not meeting expected standards as some of them are already showing signs of distress,” Chinyanga said.

“Some are even failing to execute the works after being awarded the contracts, as government we have taken steps towards blacklisting in the extreme cases.

“I have instructed my officials to come up with modalities to recover any public funds which may have been lost due to the work of underperforming contracts using the legal route,” Chinyanga said.

All Zimbabwean roads were declared a state of national emergency by President Emmerson Mnangagwa last year, with government following up the pronouncement with launch of a an emergency road repair programme (ERRP).

ZINARA has so far poured in ZW$9.5 billion of the ZW$17 billion it promised for road rehabilitation in 2022 alone.

Added Chinyanga: “Let me assure you that the ministry is working flat out to find ways of refurbishing our toll gate infrastructure and construction of new ones.

“I urge the department of roads and ZINARA to work very closely towards the construction and refurbishment of toll gates, installation of cutting-edge software technologies for seamless revenue collection and passage through tolling.”

Zinara board chair George Manyanya said the parastatal has made a deliberate decision to constantly engage all stakeholders on its activities for transparency purposes.

“The Zinara we are building is anchored on transparency, accountability and delivery,” Manyaya said.

He also invited the committee to play its oversight role without fear or favour.

“You have an oversight role and I want to urge you to probe us. I know you have many questions and we also have many answers. We have nothing to hide and we are at your disposal,” he said.