By Shingirai Vambe
A day after debating and passing the Public Voluntary Organization Bill, Senate grilled Minister of Transport and Infrastructure Development, Felix Mhona, Deputy Minister of Finance, Clemence Chiduwa and Minister of Energy, Zhemu Soda over roads, inflation and power crisis that has hit the country so hard.
Senators asked Mhona of his plans with roads in the country, highways and byways which are now in a bad state making life of the commuting public difficult, especially now when it’s raining.
Mhona told Senate that it was not his problem that the roads are in this sorry state, but the budget allocation to his ministry and the level or period treasury takes to disburse the fund.
He said his ministry was only allocated 192 million, which is not enough to fix the roads in Zimbabwe.
“Some of the roads which we have already looked at, need reconstruction thus they require a lot of money which we currently don’t have, what we can afford at the moment is to close all the pot holes in a manner which can make the roads passable, once funds are available, will the look at those roads that needs resurfacing,” said Mhona.
He said the Victoria Falls Highway from Kwekwe and Bulawayo has been given to a private player, whom he said the talks with him are almost through.
Mhona also said local authorities failed to account for resources disbursed to them by the Zimbabwe National Roads Authority (ZINARA) and therefore, the ministry will work on every road in the country.
Deputy Minister Chiduwa said the inflation rate for this previous period is -7 percent and payments which the ministry had stopped due to forward charging where made between November and December, and the more the liquidity in the market, the more the demand for US dollars and the inflation goes up.
Zimbabwe Statistic said almost 80 percent of the citizens are using hard currency. Sen Morgan Komichi asked how they are going to make Zimbabwe appreciate its own currency when majority are using United States dollars.
In the midst of all these challenges, Senators noted the power crisis as the driving factor to high production cost.
Minister Zhemu Soda assured the house that unit 7 was delayed but anytime soon power generation will be increased from that unit as the country is currently producing 250MW and the rest being imported.
He cited a number of things that delayed unit 7 that resulted in hiring technicians from South Africa as well as covid-19 restrictions in China.