FLASH BACK: Road Development Agency (RDA) Director and Chief Executive Officer Eng. Elias Mwape, RDA Vice Board Chairman Eng. Yamfwa Mukanga, and Housing and Infrastructure Development minister Hon. Vincent Mwale during a recent function.

Road Development Agency (RDA) Director and Chief Executive Officer Eng. Elias Mwape says in an effort to resolve various challenges faced in the road sector the Government in August 2019 through RDA signed a contract with Messrs. Lea and Associates to review the performance of RoadSIP II, addendum to RoadSIP II and ultimately formulate a successor programme dubbed the “Strategic Road Sector Investment Plan (2018-2030)”, RoadSIP III. 

RoadSIP III would also take into account climate change effects in the roads sector. 

Eng. Mwape said it was expected that from this study, the lessons learnt from the previous RoadSIP programmes would assist in the formulation of the successor programme, RoadSIP III. 

“To date, the consultant has delivered the inception and synthesis reports and what remains on this assignment is the submission of the draft and final investment plans. it is anticipated that the consultant would have developed a concise 10 to 13 years pro-poor resource mobilization bankable strategic road sector investment plan for road safety, maintenance, rehabilitation and development for the entire Zambia road network by April 30, 2020,” he said. 

Eng. Mwape said this in his remarks during the stakeholder’s consultation session on the development of the RoadSIP III for the period 2019-2030. 

He said among the challenges being faced by the road sector in Zambia included, the huge debt owed to contractors and consultants in unpaid Interim Payment Certificates (IPCs) and the delayed implementation of core developmental programmes such as the Link Zambia 8000 programme and the Pave Zambia 2000. 

He emphasised that the development of the RoadSIP III strategic bankable document was expected to streamline road investment with the view to birth a new road map in so far as project implementation for the road sector was concerned. 

Eng. Mwape urged participants to freely contribute to the deliberations of the day to ensure that the output of the assignment was “fit for purpose” and also one that incorporated all key areas which were represented by the various relevant key institutions and ministries in the workshop. 

Eng. Mwape said in order to attract investment and improve connectivity in the country, Government embarked on two major road sector investment programmes that were implemented in the country. 

The first one was RoadSIP I from 1998 to 2002; and RoadSIP II 2003 to 2013 and both RoadSIP I and II were focused on the principles of the road management initiative as a sector coordination vehicle under the World Bank sector support framework.

Eng. Mwape said in the transition period from between RoadSIP II and III, the national road sector framework 2012 document was prepared by the then Ministry of Transport, Works, Supply and Communications.

“This document set out Government’s policy direction towards transforming Zambia from being a landlocked to a land-linked country in line with the overarching goals and objectives of the Seventh National Development Plan, and the Vision 2030 of guiding Zambia to being a prosperous middle-income country by 2030,” he said. 

Meanwhile, Transport and Communications Permanent Secretary Eng. Misheck Lungu said to ensure that the envisaged investment under the Road Sector Framework (RSF) 2012 was safeguarded, Government through the RDA saw it prudent to formulate a maintenance strategy for the period 2014 to 2024. 

Eng. Lungu said in a speech read on his behalf by Assistant Director Transport Eng. Emmanuel Sampa that the Road Maintenance Strategy (RMS) was designed to create a clear pathway for the provision of road maintenance activities on the Core Road Network (CRN).

“It is geared towards ensuring that there is timely implementation and improved quality of maintenance on the CRN, which will enhance the life span of roads and related infrastructure,” he said.