Nkosilathi Sibanda, Business Correspondent
NEWLY appointed Zimbabwe National Road Administration (Zinara) board member Mr Reeds Dube has put weight behind the institution’s commitment to play a leading role in rehabilitating roads infrastructure in Matabeleland North, whose poor state has derailed most developmental projects in the province.
Matabeleland North was recognised as the country’s springboard of reviving the energy and tourism industrial growth by President Mnangagwa after commissioning a number of business ventures led by State Owned Enterprises (SOE) and private players.
The province, whose potential to inspire the Second Republic’s Vision 2030 of attaining a middle-class economy has already enticed would-be investors in gold, coal, solar energy, wildlife, conservation, farming, methane gas extraction and timber sectors.
But, over the years, local and foreign investors have been let down by the poor state of roads. The road network from Bulawayo to the province’s capital Lupane and the gold fields of Bubi District are in need of attention.
Connecting to the country’s prime tourism resort, Victoria Falls has not been a joy ride as stretches of bumpy and unfinished repairs are a cause of distress.
With the appointment of a new board, changes in the expedition of projects was highly expected. The restructuring of the Zinara board brought in Mr Dube who has a wide footprint in the call for development in the province.
Mr Dube is part of a board comprising individuals with diverse expertise in engineering, business leadership, corporate governance, community and civil affairs. In an interview with Sunday Business on Thursday, Mr Dube said he is of firm belief that being part of Zinara’s decision making panel will not only benefit Matabeleland North but the whole country.
“We know that people were expecting a lot to be done regarding the repair of major roads in Matabeleland North. Let us educate our people, we are on this board for a national cause, therefore our focus is on national issues. All major roads in our country are in the pipeline for rehabilitation.
Funds collected by Zinara are in place to aid authorities on such developmental issues. But I would not want to play a blind eye when it comes to the push to have the province’s roads get urgent attention. That also goes out to placing a priority to encourage Zinara to use funds appropriately to assist the Government fulfill its obligations regarding road infrastructure development,” said Mr Dube.
He said being part of the Zinara board was set to bring a new dimension into how the institution can be relevant in helping the Government attain its goals.
The Matabeleland North based businessman and philanthropist said the public has to have trust in Zinara that it will fulfill its obligation of using road toll fees for the national benefit. Zinara, being part of the most essential State Owned Enterprises under the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development, only recently amended its public image following a series of malpractices by its superiors.
The new board, although yet to fully exercise its role, came in as the Zinara chairman Engineer Michael Madanha announced the appointment of renowned corporate strategist Mr Nkosinathi Ncube as the chief executive officer of the institution.
In his brief remarks soon after assuming office in August, Mr Ncube said he will make sure that Zinara was a good brand that collects road user fees using modern technologies.
Among other responsibilities under its belt, Zinara is tasked to collect road user charges, manage allocation and disbursement of road funds to road authorities.