INFRASTRUCTURE, Housing and Urban Development Minister Charles Milupi says government has made requests to the National Road Fund Agency (NRFA) for K2.78 million which will be channeled towards road maintenance works.
Speaking in Parliament, Tuesday, Milupi said the country was in a difficult situation and government would be unable to undertake any new projects if all locally generated revenue was channeled towards clearing debt owed to contractors.
“We find ourselves as a country in a very difficult situation and it is not pleasurable as a Minister to stand here time and again answering questions on infrastructure development throughout this country and give the reason of lack of funds for not having made progress on any particular infrastructure or roads. We are in a difficult situation. As of this year, for certified works, we owe K14.11 billion and overall in terms of infrastructure in the 2020 budget, you take out the component that was due to come from outside sources, locally generated revenues were planned to be in a region of K66 billion. The last exchange rate this amounts to just over $3 billion. This same amount is what we owe as a country on infrastructure alone,” Milupi said.
“In other words, this year, if we apportioned all the locally generated revenues to paying what we owe on infrastructure we will not be able to undertake anything else. These are the issues, Madam Speaker, that this government is dealing with and measures are being taken to ensure that as we go into the future, we begin to address these issues. We have already made requests for funds in the sum of K2.78 million for maintenance works and we have submitted this request to NRFA and the release of these funds is awaited. Government is not idle and I think as time goes on, some of these matters will begin to be addressed.”
Milupi said government’s only hope at the moment was to wait for Parliament to approve the budget because currently, their resources were depleted.
“If we say that government resources are depleted at the moment, there is no hidden account where we can get resources to undertake some of these things. Madam Speaker, I am an engineer by profession and engineers like to do things and do not like to make excuses to do things. My natural inclination is to undertake these works as and when they occur,” said Milupi.
“We cannot do this without resources from any account which originates from Control-99 account, which is the government account. Particularly this year, whatever was budgeted for has completely depleted. Our remaining hope is to wait for the House to pass the budget that was presented by the Minister of Finance. That is why when we come to debate this budget I hope we take this into account so that we expeditiously pass this budget to address some of the issues being raised.”