TRANSPORT and Infrastructure Development minister Obert Mpofu has urged road funds authorities to be transparent and accountable to the public on the use of funds generated for road infrastructure development.
Speaking at the official opening of the 13th African Road Maintenance fund Association (ARMFA) annual general meeting at Elephant Hills in Victoria Falls on Monday, Mpofu said road funds have come under exceptional public scrutiny with respect to transparency, accountability, innovation and integrity.
“We do not blame people who are asking us to be accountable for what we have collected because they need to see that their contribution goes towards what is supposed to be developed,” he said.
“It is not in our interest to see these funds being abused, as the minister of Transport, l want to see roads and infrastructure upgraded and l will not allow a situation where funds are diverted from what they are supposed to be developing to other sectors.
“We have been putting a lot of pressure on the Zimbabwe National Road Administration (Zinara) to be accountable not only to the public, but also to Parliament.”
Mpofu said an allocations committee of the Zinara board, which comprises members from the Finance and Transport ministries and other sectors that are involved in development of infrastructure, has been set up to ensure accountability of revenue collected.
“l can say the media and all other stakeholders can go to Zinara and find for themselves how they account for these funds,” he said.
Mpofu bemoaned the continent’s failure to mobilise resources to promote infrastructure development.
“While Africa as a continent is one of the richest continents, in terms of natural resources, regrettably we probably rank lowest when it comes to road infrastructure development,” he said.
The minister urged road fund authorities to come up with internal funds and not depend on donor funding because it had become an unreliable and unsustainable way of funding road infrastructure.
The ARMFA conference, which is attended by 31 out of 34 member states under the theme “The role of road funds in socio–economic development”, will end on Saturday.