The Zimbabwe National Road Administration (ZINARA) is a Zimbabwean government department under the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development which is currently led by Felix Mhona . Its key mandate is to ensure the maintenance of the country's roads including the major highways.
ZINARA as a body was established in terms of the road act (chapter 13:18). It was established in 2002 with the aim of enhancing road network system throughout the country. Its core business, in consultation with the minister of transport, communication and infrastructural development is fixing road user charges and collect such charges or any other revenue of the road fund.
- In consultation with the Minister and the responsible Minister of Finance, to fix road user charges and to collect such charges or any other revenue of the Road Fund.
- To assist the Minister in setting maintenance, design, construction and technical standard and to monitor adherence to such standards by Road Authorities.
- To allocate and disburse to road authorities funds from the Road Fund in accordance with rules prescribed by the Road Administration.
- To audit the use of funds from the Road Fund by the Authorities and to ensure that disbursed funds are utilised for the purpose for which they are intended and in accordance with rules prescribed by the Road Administration.
- To monitor implementation of road maintenance works by Road Authorities.
- To assist Road Authorities in making annual or multi-year road maintenance rolling plans.
Since its establishment in 2002, ZINARA has been focussing on a number of projects to do with refurbishment of the country's major roads. In Matabeleland North, work was started in Hwange-Victoria Falls and two of the worst roads in the province, Bulawayo-Tsholotsho and Bulawayo-Nkayi. The programme involved the maintenance of the Bulawayo-Kezi, Bulawayo-Beitbridge and Bubi-Beitbridge roads in Matabeleland South. Other major roads refurbishments which were started in 2012 include Masvingo-Bubi, Chivi-Mupandawana and Chivhu-Gutu-Chatsworth roads. In the Midlands Province, the Kadoma-Empress Mine and Mberengwa-West Nicholson roads were also meant to be refurbished under the road reconstruction project. In 2013, ZINARA also facilitated the establishement of the country's first toll plaza in Bulawayo. The first toll plaza was commissioned on the 10th of April 2013, about 16 kilometres from Bulawayo.
In the Mashonaland region six roads were also targetted to be repaired with Harare-Chivhu and Chivhu-Nyazura roads being maintained in Mashonaland East while those which will be repaired in Mashonaland West are Harare-Chirundu and Mhangura roads. Bindura-Matepatepa and Harare-Bindura- Mount Darwin roads in Mashonaland Central Province complete the list from the Mashonaland region. In the Manicaland Province, three roads have been targetted for repair and these are: Rusape-Nyanga, Birchenough-Murabinda and Chipinge-Mount Selinda roads. In the second half of 2014, ZINARA also embarked on a project to refurbish the highway from Harare Central Business District to Harare International Airport which is one of the country's busiest roads. ZINARA took over the project from Harare City Council in June 2014.
ZINARA is run under the Ministry of Transport, Communication and Infrastructural Development. It is led by its board chairperson and other executive directors who head the respective departments such as finance and human resources. In 2014, the board was made of 12 individuals including the chairperson.
ZINARA was commended for its efforts in rehabilitating some of the country's major highways which had claimed a lot of lives due to bad state. These include chief among them the Harare Bulawayo Highway which was resurfaced in 2014 and it was also dualised from Harare although it is still far from being complete. The Harare - Mutare Highway which is also one the busiest road was also resurfaced in 2014. This also came along with the dualisation of the road from Harare which is also an ongoing initiative. In 2014, ZINARA also embarked on an initiative to register all vehicles in the country. The initial deadline for the registration was 31 November 2014. Most motorists heeded the call and managed to register their vehicles. This enabled the Ministry of Transport to use the data in its developmental agendas.
It was reported that ZINARA, as of November 2014, was owing its creditors a total of about USD$40 million in cumulative debts. The parastatal is said to have been collected a monthly surplus of a whooping USD$5.5 Million but it goes on to acquire loans which eventually turned to bad debts pushing the organisation into a debt crisis. The parastatal which also collects annual revenue of about USD$130 Million from the country's 26 toll gates was said to have been marred by mal- administration and this prompted the government to investigate the issue. This resulted i the deposition of Thomas Mutizhe the former finance director on 27 November 2014. There were also serious irregularities in the manner in which the ZINARA was issuing and awarding tenders and this attracted speculation of mass corruption within the department. The general public has also questioned the pace in which the major highways are being refurbished. The general feeling is that ZINARA receives a lot of income from the toll gates but in return it has not performed to the expected standard.
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