Minister of Transport and Public Works Francis Kasaila says the government will only be able to rehabilitate roads and other public infrastructure that were damaged by floods earlier this year with funding from international donors.
Kasaila said the government is initially banking on the K11.2 billion (US$24 million) loan from the World Bank, approved by Parliament last week within a total loan package of US$80 million for the entire disaster relief, to start the rehabilitation works.
One of the post disaster needs assessment has revealed that the road transport sector alone requires about K26 billion (US$50 million) for reconstruction of the damaged roads.
A total of 1 of 1,220 kilometers of road stretches got damaged due to the floods that affected most parts of the country. Out of this, 876 kilometers was partly damaged while 344 kilometers was completely damaged.
A total of 185 bridges were also affected, with 64 bridges partially damaged and 121 totally damaged.
About 465 culverts were affected, of which 153 culverts we r e partially damaged and 321 severely ravaged.
Kasaila said some roads have already been rehabilitated temporarily using domestic resources and that they are now at least passable.
He said, however, complete rehabilitation of most affected roads may commence this June once initial disbursement from the World Bank starts.
“Once we start receiving the money, we will roll out and get the works done. We really wish we would have the money now but being an emergency, we are hoping that at least by June end we should start getting the money,” said Kasaila.
He said most of the construction contracts will be for the short term and government targets the month of November to complete most of the works.
“Most of the contracts will be for 90 and 120 days, so they are short term,” said Kasaira.