Zimbabwe: 'Infrastructure, Maintenance Spending Constrained'
29 March 2012
allAfrica.com - March 29, 2012
ZIMBABWE'S current spending on infrastructure maintenance is significantly below par. African Development Bank (Zimbabwe) lead economist Mr Damoni Kitabire told the Herald Business that the country was spending less than a quarter of the required amount for infrastructure maintenance.
"Actual spending today is US$24 million against the US$144 million that is required," he said.
Zimbabwe has generally had one of the best basic infrastructure coverage in the region, however, as a result of the inadequate maintenance spending, the country now lags behind in terms of service coverage and quality.
The limited spending has largely been attributed to a constrained fiscus due to the liquidity challenges, however, analysts believe that ideally the private sector should be by far the largest source of financing for new capital expenditures.
This calls for strengthening of the policy and legal framework for private investment, technical and financial restructuring of State enterprises, and strengthening of the legal, regulatory and administrative environment for the provision of infrastructure services.
Said Mr Kitabire: "Improving the operating environment for infrastructure services is essential for the mobilisation of private sector investment. As the Finance Minister (Tendai Biti) has said, private investors need clarity in the regulatory/policy framework."
There is also the question of whether the country has the capacity to carry out the required infrastructure maintenance and upgrade even if the money becomes available.
Last year, the AfDB released a report that undertook a detailed examination of the country's development of basic infrastructure for transport, power, water and sanitation, and information and communications technology sectors in the past decade, as well as the management of the services associated with this infrastructure.
The report -- Infrastructure and Growth in Zimbabwe 2011 -- shows that most infrastructure falling under the jurisdiction of parastatals has deteriorated due to the structural inefficiencies of the respective State entities.